This is an epic moment and the path forward is clear. I am writing to share our Standing Rock campaign work with you, protecting Mother Earth from the Dakota Access pipeline, and to ask you to join us over the months ahead. Now is the time.
For months now, Honor the Earth has been working with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and two grassroots groups, the Sacred Stones Camp and Red Warrior Camp. While we fought off one fracked oil pipeline here in Minnesota, Enbridge’s Sandpiper, the companies moved west. So we have followed them, because a pipeline that would harm Standing Rock’s water will also harm ours.
We are here not only to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, but to make a future for our people. This is the time to push for renewable energy and justice. No more desecration of our lands. No more poisoning of our people. We have momentum. We have the world’s attention. And we are standing together and standing up. Please join us.
There is more than just a $3.9 billion pipeline at stake here. This is about constitutional rights, and human rights. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, Governor Dalrymple seeks to spend over $7.8 million militarizing the state to put down the Lakota and their allies. This is not going to happen. We are a strong and principled people. As of today, 69 people have been arrested, including Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II and Councilmember Dana Yellowfat. The people have physically stopped construction for weeks. And the battle is just beginning. I am watching history repeat itself, and wondering how badly Dalrymple really wants that pipeline.
This is our plan: Three of Honor the Earth's primary staff have essentially moved to Standing Rock to support the frontlines and ensure a multi-dimensional campaign. We continue to provide legal strategies and counsel, and campaign coordination. And we continue to work on the future. This tribe does not need a new pipeline, they need energy infrastructure that actually serves its people. After all, three years ago Debbie Dogskin, a Standing Rock resident, froze to death because she could not pay her propane bill. That is the reality here.
With an 85% drop in active oil rigs in the Bakken oil fields, there is no need for this pipeline. It is a pipeline from nowhere. Here’s what true energy independence would look like: With $3.9 billion equally divided, we could install 65,000 typical 5kw residential rooftop PV systems, each supplying about half of the home's electricity needs; install 325 2MW utility scale wind towers that would generate over 3.5 billion kwh per year; and provide 160,000 homes with $8000 efficiency retrofit packages, saving $300/yr/home. That would produce jobs, most of them local.
We are supporting Standing Rock as they fight this pipeline, but we are also helping to create a new future. We plan to install 20 solar thermal panels on tribal houses at Standing Rock, beginning to address fuel poverty on the reservation.
We are here to defend the water, the land and the people. No new pipelines anywhere. It is time to move on. From October 8-13, Honor the Earth is proud to join forces with the Wounded Knee Memorial Riders, the Dakota 38 and Big Foot riders, and many horse nation societies, in a spiritual horse ride to protect our sacred waters from the Dakota Access pipeline and all the black snakes that threaten our lands.
At times like these, I often ask myself, “What would Sitting Bull do?” The answer is pretty clear. A hundred years ago the great leader said, “Let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can make for our children.” The time for that is now. Please join us today with a one-time donation or better yet, a commitment to stand with us each month. Let us be the ancestors our future generations wish to thank.
PS: We are just now bringing in our wild rice harvest from the White Earth Reservation. We are proud to say that this wild rice is still pipeline free. We have fought hard for this beautiful rice, because it is everything to us. Please consider ordering some today.
Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe, is an American Indian activist, environmentalist, economist and writer.