Members of the Sioux tribe and their supporters at Standing Rock broke out in tears of joy on Dec. 4 when the Army Corp of Engineers announced it denied the permit for the DAPL, and an alternate route will be determined.
Their celebrations have been a long time coming, considering they’ve been protesting for months against the DAPL’s construction. A federal violation of Native rights to the “undisturbed use and occupation” of their homeland, threatening the purity of their drinking water, and a disregard for the sanctity of their sacred land all ignited the lengthly protest.
During the last month, the peaceful protestors have endured violence at the hands of the militarized police: being shot at with rubber bullets and concussion grenades, tear gassed, and sprayed with cold water in freezing temperatures. But this accompanied with the increasingly cold temps didn’t dampen their fighting spirit. They were prepared to dig in their heels for the winter when thousands of veterans joined them the week prior to this announcement. They brought supplies such as gas masks, earplugs, and body armour to help them stand firm against the brutality of the police.
Instead of fighting, however, they will dance in celebration. While it is a step forward in preserving the environment, it still falls short of the tribes’ overall goal of stopping the pipeline altogether. And with a new president coming in to office who isn’t exactly concerned about the environment, this is surely a battle that isn’t entirely over.
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