Today represented a major milestone for the Standing Rock Tribe’s fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was announced this afternoon that the Army Corp of Engineers will not grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, a section of the Missouri river. The Army claimed that Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy based her decision on a need to explore “alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing.”
This victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was met with an uproar of celebration. A giant human chain connected around the camp with hollers of joy. Once news had spread a large celebration of song and dance broke out around the sacred fire, a fire that burns day and night, at Oceti Sakowin Camp.
In addition, a surge of veterans joined Standing Rock over the weekend. Over 2,000 vets have been expected to join and act as a “human shied” between protestors and the law enforcements.
David Hulse from Chicago, Illinois, a seven-year Navy vet said he was participating for “not a mission of war, but a mission of peace and prayer.”
This morning, with a rush of media following the veterans into camp the Morton County Sheriff’s Department reduced their militarized presence on the Backwater Bridge, a highly contested site near the camp. Law enforcement pulled back their humvee from the bridge as well as other large militarized vehicles and most of their personnel.
While this constitutes a momentous victory for the tribe and its supporters there are still many uncertainties lying ahead. The Army Corp deadline to vacate the camp by tomorrow still stands. Additionally, the president-elect has voiced support for the project as well as most other fossil fuel infrastructure and could reverse this decision, theoretically by approving the project on his first day in office.