After police brutally attacked hundreds of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors last week, the US Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to shut down the Standing Rock encampment on December 5th for “safety reasons.” Tear gas, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and freezing water cannons have not deterred the protesters from holding their ground. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies are protesting the 1,200-mile oil pipeline because its route encroaches on sacred sites and puts the community’s water supply at risk.
On December 5th, the United States Army will remove the protesters from their current site on the north side of the Cannonball River to a “free speech zone” on the other side. In the face of forcible eviction, Standing Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II urges the resistance to remain strong. “It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe,” said Archambault. “Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the president will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”
President Obama has faced increased pressure to take action on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux, particularly in the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking victory. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has spoken out on behalf of the protesters on several occasions and was recently was joined by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), who has called on President Obama to halt the pipeline construction. “No pipeline is worth more than the respect we hold for our Native American neighbors,” said Heinrich. “No pipeline is worth more than the clean water that we all depend on. This pipeline is not worth the life of a single protester.”
Images via Standing Rock Uprising