Native Americans generally, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe specifically, said on Friday they don't intend to give up their opposition to the $6.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, which the Trump administration has fast-tracked into its final completion.
Tribal leaders as part of a "Native Nations Rise" national effort plan to march in the nation's capital next Friday with three days of demonstrations and lobbying (March 7-9) prior to that to put an exclamation point on their attempts to kill the nearly 1,200-mile oil pipeline through four states from the Bakken Shale fields in North Dakota to an oil hub in south-central Illinois that is more than 99% built.
Construction continues on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-sanctioned water crossing under a lake formed in a dammed portion of the Missouri River in south-central North Dakota, adjacent, but not on, the Standing Rock reservation as Native American protesters plan to show up en masse to oppose what they call "President Trump's continued aggression on tribal nations."
"They want us to believe the fight is over, butwe can still win this," said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "Native nations cannot continue to be pushed aside to benefit corporate interests and government whim."
During an earnings conference call late last month, Kelcy Warren, CEO of DAPL's chief sponsor, Energy Transfer Partners, acknowledged that the company underestimated the power of the protests and particularly social media to perpetuate the opposition to a project that was fully vetted by both state and federal regulatory processes and the federal courts in response to legal challenges from the Native American tribes.
Warren said social media allowed protesters to spread what he called "falsehoods" widely and quickly over the Internet "and get away with it. There was no way we can defend ourselves, and that was a mistake on my part," he said.
The Standing Rock Sioux plan to lead a march that would begin at the Army Corps' offices in Washington, DC and end at a rally on the Ellipse in the national mall.
"For those who cannot march with us, we ask that they take peaceful action at home in tribal nations, states, cities, towns, villages and provinces," a Standing Rock Sioux spokesperson said.