The Army Corps of Engineers has officially denied the easement stopping the Dakota Access pipeline from continuing on its path under the Missouri river and calling for it to be rerouted. Celebrations erupted at Oceti Sakowin camp last night after the news was announced at the Sacred Fire that the easement had been denied. There were fireworks, victory dances, and music erupting from the camp as the Water Protectors celebrated.
Through the power of peaceful protest and prayer they have drawn the attention of millions despite a mainstream media blackout. Their resolve and dedication drew thousands of supporters culminating in thousands of veterans deploying themselves to stand with Standing Rock. This huge outpouring of support for the natives of Standing Rock’s quest to protect our water ended up finally getting big enough to force the government’s hand.
This denial of easement and recommendation to reroute the pipeline is a great moral victory but the fight against the pipeline isn’t over. The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, has already pledged to continue forward despite being denied saying that they can just pay the fines. They also feel that when the Trump administration takes over January 20th the easement will be granted after all. Paul Ryan has already came out himself and said that it will.
So while this victory is being celebrated at Standing Rock, as it should be, the Natives also know that the fight isn’t over. We’ve won a major battle but the war wages on. This move by the Army Corps of Engineers looks to me like a way to pull focus away from Standing Rock and get activists and protesters to let their guard down about it. It is my hope that everyone stays focused on Standing Rock and that as many as possible of the veterans that have self deployed there can stay with the protesters. When this war against the ‘black snake’ starts up again the Water Protectors will still have the strength that they have right now and will need moving forward to win this war to protect our water.
We the people are strong when we are united. That is why so much effort is put into keeping us divided. When we come together in large numbers we can make our voices heard and get results as you’re seeing in Standing Rock right now. But, we must also stay diligent and not let this victory allow us to let our guard down. It’s clear that the Water Protectors know that as well. This wouldn’t be the first time that they were assured of something only to find it was a lie. They intend to stay and keep fighting to defend our water and they need us to continue our support so that we can all win together and stop this awful pipeline.