The Water Protectors at Standing Rock have received a terrific victory with the announcement on Sunday, that the Army Corps of Engineers will not grant permission for the permit for the North Dakota Access Pipeline to go under the Missouri River without a full Environmental Impact Study. They also will consider alternate routes for the pipeline. The hard earned win comes after months of peaceful protest by thousands of people, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who left their lives and jobs to set up camp at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.
The secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault that the current route through their lands, would be denied.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary for civil works announced the decision. She said it was based on “a need to explore alternate routes” for the pipeline. This is an extraordinary win for the Indigenous tribes out at Standing Rock and also a boost to environmental actions all over the world. This fantastic defeat of a powerful energy company shows the tremendous power people have to change the world when we stand together as a unified group for a cause we believe in.
The decision came just one day before the deadline given to the water protectors by federal government officials, to leave the area due to plummeting temperatures, or risk the possibility of being forcibly removed.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, Dave Archambault, says that the tribe will be forever grateful to the Obama administration for this truly historic decision. The news of the decision came just fifteen minutes after a giant Prayer circle and online Global Prayer event, Pray with Standing Rock in support of Chief Arvol Looking Horse and other interfaith leaders who had been gathered at the sacred fire. As news spread through the camp, it was met with tremendous cheers and celebrations. After months of firm resistance that was often met by considerable force, and the recent challenges of blizzards and the freezing temperatures, the win is an amazing testament to the fortitude and commitment of the peaceful Water Protectors led by the Standing Rock Sioux and representatives of 300 other Native nations, who vowed to never give up. This spiritual resistance that has been supported by people all over the world, will ensure that the pipeline is at least temporarily halted and may even be re-routed.
Standing Rock has been the largest gathering of Native tribes for over 150 years, and also one of the largest environmental protests to gain such broad support internationally.
Pray with Standing Rock, a Global synchronised prayer movement that has happened over the past two weekends, run by UPLIFT, Unify and other partners, with permission of the Sioux elders, has had over 1000 events around the globe and over 70,000 participants. This will now transform into a Global Wopida, or ‘Ceremony of Gratitude’, led by the Dakota hereditary chief Phil Lane Jr, that will be held on December 10th at 10am Central Time. In the words of the elder, Faith Spotted Eagle, spoken around the sacred fire at the Oceti Sakowin camp: ‘There is no coincidence in spiritual movements.’