Native American and other religious leaders including Christian denominations called the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to deny an easement for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline an answer to prayer.
As many as 8,000 people at one time have gathered in camps in the hills along the Cannonball River in North Dakota to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a spiritual movement protesting the construction of the pipeline.
Their rallying cry has been Mni wiconi (Lakota, meaning “water is life”) as they have maintained that the pipeline’s planned river crossing upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation posed a risk to its water supply. It also would have crossed through lands considered sacred by the Sioux.
“Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner—and that is how we will respond to this decision,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement about the December 4 decision.
“With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.”
Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP who are behind construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, responded to the news Sunday with a statement calling the decision a “purely political action.”
As I Was Saying: North to Standing Rock (The Banner)