From Revcoms at Standing Rock, November 21
Winter Is Here—Water Protectors Aren't Going Anywhere
November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Right now there are an estimated 1,000 people in all three camps at Standing Rock; Oceti Sakowin (the largest and main camp), Rosebud, and Sacred Stone. Despite the dramatic drop in the temperatures here over the last few days, many people have stayed, and more continue to arrive. Winters in North Dakota are bitter cold, to say the least, and blizzards are common. The average low temperate in December is 4° and the average high is only 28°!!! Here at Standing Rock, people are preparing to face a North Dakota winter with courage and serious determination.
Rumors abound but according to the news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that they may not proceed with construction of the pipeline without meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council. The Corps of Engineers is saying they may have to reroute the pipeline. The DAPL CEO said no way would they reroute, but would gladly meet with Dave Archambault, Tribal Council Chairman, to "ease his mind." The Corps of Engineers is pushing for them to meet. This could all be a ploy so people will lessen their vigilance, or the Obama administration may be maneuvering to leave this up to the Trump administration. And with winter coming, they may be thinking the cold will deter people and they can wait until January or so. In addition, some are reporting that with each passing day, DAPL loses money and that some of the banks backing this are getting closer to backing out. But whatever the motivations and maneuvers of the Obama administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, many, many more people all over the country and around the world must step into this struggle to stop this genocidal pipeline.
Yesterday, we attended a winterization meeting that was led by a young woman from Southern California. She had only just arrived about a week prior, and had experience planning parties for various good causes. She described the kind of work being done throughout the camp to prepare for winter and put the needs to the people; the need for people to move from their single tents to larger heated communal tents which will not only be a lot warmer but also will foster a culture of community even more deeply than what exists in the camp now; the rope system being done which would allow people to walk from one camp to another in snow and severe winds; the need for people to contribute to setting up 60 tarpees, which are similar structures to tipis but with a flat top and are heated and sleep up to ten people, and were donated to the camp; the need for more wood for stoves, and hay and recycled bottles for insulation. The woman leading the meeting encouraged people to bring their thinking and ideas to those leading the construction teams and to immediately get involved however they could, in completing the major winterization efforts being done throughout this week.
As we walked around camp right before this meeting, there was no shortage of people already working on completing all these tasks, so much so we couldn't find anyone who had a minute to talk to us! Everyone was hard at work chopping wood, setting up army tents, tarpees, and tipis, putting down wood floors, organizing the food and constructing solid structures to store the food.
So as it is likely that the cold did cause some people to leave, but in the main, this has not been the case. Many of the Native people here tell us their people have plenty of experience dealing with such harsh weather, and that it will not be what stands in the way of stopping this pipeline. And more people continue to arrive to camp every day and efforts are being made to accommodate everyone here with a warm and safe place to stay, warm clothes to wear, and food to eat. Yesterday, a young man from Sweden and a young woman from Canada announced at the meeting that they had just arrived, were very moved by what they saw happening throughout the camp, and were looking forward to contributing to the winterization process however they could. One person was moved to contribute several hundred dollars for bales of hay for insulation. Many have told us they have groups of people coming in for “Thanksgiving,” aka “no thanks, genocide day.”
It is incredibly inspiring the work being done here at Standing Rock to make it through the winter. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of experiences, have put their lives on hold, and are coming together to fill a great need, to construct a winter village, and continue the fight to stop DAPL. The moves to run this pipeline just outside the official lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and through tribal land that was stolen in the 1950s, could potentially lead to leaking underneath and poisoning the Missouri River, the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux. These are the huge stakes in this battle, and the challenge we face. And with Trump promising to lift environmental regulations and greatly accelerate oil production in the U.S., with all the devastation that would mean for the environment, the struggle at Standing Rock could well become a flashpoint in the people's struggle against Trump's whole fascist program.
Many more people are needed, now more than ever, to stand up and join the struggle at Standing Rock to STOP the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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