As winter sets in the Dakotas and the government begins an environmental impact study of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, a coalition of Native people at and around Standing Rock is weighing its options.
Should non-Natives leave the area or stay, ready to intervene? Should activists focus on Energy Transfer Partners and its ongoing construction of another section of DAPL in Iowa, or lobby the national banks that are funding the project? These aren’t easy questions, but the right answer is probably “Yes.” Complex problems often require many people pressing forward on several fronts at once.
This week, days after the announcement that the pipeline company would not receive the easement permit it applied for, the Standing Rock coalition has published a new statement on the road ahead. The coalition at Standing Rock includes the Indigenous Environmental Network, the International Indigenous Youth Council, Honor the Earth, and the Sacred Stone Camp. And they have a very specific ask:
We ask you to join us in an unprecedented divestment campaign to kill the black snake financially. We will also ask you to engage in the development of the Environmental Impact Statement to the extent that the public is invited to participate, and guide you through that process. But let us use this time to cut off funding for the project. December is an international month of action focused on the 17 banks that are profiting off investments in the Dakota Access pipeline. Shut these banks down with direct action. Close your accounts and tell the world you’re doing it. Pressure your local jurisdictions and philanthropists to divest. Every day is a day of action… Now more than ever, we ask that you stand with us as we continue to demand justice.” (December 9, 2016)
Read the rest of the statement and take this weekend to discern what action is yours to take.