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The Internationalist
  December 2016

Cops, Feds, Pipeline Companies – Get Out of Indian Lands!

Hands Off Standing Rock Sioux!

Cops attack demonstrators protesting Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock Indian Reservation on November 20, blasting them with water cannon in sub-freezing weather.  (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/StarTribune [Minneapolis])

DECEMBER 4 – In a significant (but perhaps temporary) victory for the Native American and other protesters at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and their supporters elsewhere, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today announced it would not grant an easement (permission to build) for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross the Missouri River at the Reservation. Instead, it said the builders should “explore alternative routes” – which Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the main owner of the DAPL, has refused to do.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has opposed the Missouri River crossing at that site as endangering water supplies and violating Indian land rights. The pipeline was originally planned to cross the Missouri north of the state capital of Bismarck, but when politicians objected, the route was moved south to cross at Standing Rock in a blatant case of environmental racism. In response, thousands of Native Americans (including representatives of more than 300 tribes) and others have traveled to the reservation to support the “water protectors.”

The federal action may stop the pipeline for now, but the battle is far from over. Many protesters and tribal leaders focused on pressuring the Obama administration into blocking the pipeline crossing. But ETP has powerful support not only from North Dakota’s Republican government, which is entirely in the pocket of the oil companies, but also from putative president-elect Donald Trump, who is an investor in the DAPL and has called for it to be built at that site. A new administration in Washington next January could easily reverse the Army Corps of Engineers ruling.

Colorado River Indians, joining with 300 tribes,  delcare their solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, September 3.
(Robyn Beck/AFP)

Moreover, there could still be a confrontation at the construction site on December 5 or in coming days as police have threatened to arrest anyone who crosses a bridge. Local police have been openly racist, calling the Indian protesters “evil” for violating sacrosanct private “property rights” of the pipeline company – on land which was granted to the Sioux in an 1851 treaty and subsequently stolen from them.

State and local police and sheriffs deputies from as far away as Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio have participated in the brutal cop attacks on the Standing Rock protesters. In opposition to the vicious repression, hundreds of veterans from across the country are presently gathering to “take a stand with Standing Rock.”

While liberals, environmental activists and many leftists have opposed the pipeline as such, meaning that much of North Dakota oil would continue to be shipped by rail which is far more dangerous, the Internationalist Group has taken the position of supporting the Standing Rock Sioux – and solidarizing with their courageous resistance to the forces of racist repression – in opposing the construction of the pipeline at the reservation as an attack on Native American rights.

Internationalist Group at November 3 demonstration in Los Angeles protesting attempt to run pipeline through    Standing Rock Indian Reservation, potentially endangering water supply and violating Native American rights.  (Internationalist photo)

At a November 3 protest in Los Angeles, IG signs called for: “Hands Off Standing Rock Sioux,” “Cops, Feds, Pipeline Companies – Get Out of Indian Lands!” and “Pipeline? Run It Thru the Golf Courses of N.D. Power Elites!” We also demand that all charges be dropped against the more than 500 protesters who have been arrested during the course of the struggle. ■