Photos: Nadin and Tom Abbott
Video Tom Abbott; Editing Nadin Abbott
Dec 5, 2916 (San Diego) The day after the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers San Diego had a vigil to pray over the decision. Activists know that the incoming administration could reverse the decision by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. They also know that Energy Transfer Partners, the company that is building the North Dakota Access Pipeline has said this is not over.
There were about 100 people, who came from both the local tribes and local communities, as well as environmentalists, such as San Diego 350. They came to pray, reflect and be thankful for this. Many of those who came, also wrote letters, in green letter head, that was handed over to the personal at the Corp’s office on Aero Drive. It was a peaceful assembly, though during the prayer for water, for life, a San Diego Police Helicopter overflew the area a few times. If they were in their approach to the airport, since they are based there, it happens. But flying overhead repeatedly, and turning on their spot lights, was not accidental.
We spoke with David Fernandez after the event. He was at Standing Rock, where these tactics were used often. He could not help but for his mind to return to the feelings he had during those moments.
Before the event proper started we spoke with Chuck Cadotte, also a United State military veteran, and a member of the Lakota Tribe, at Standing Rock, about some background. We also spoke with Olympia Beltran. She is a Guamar Yaqui and her tribe spans not two states, but two countries. She told Reporting San Diego how Standing Rock is not just about the Lakota in North Dakota, but the same fight is happening in Mexico with her people.
Cadotte spoke of a few important items. I would like to highlight one. This is the size of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 land grant. While the current reservation is smaller. the Fort Laramie treaty recognized the lands of the Lakota as covering both North and South Dakota, and where Energy Transfer wants to put the pipeline. We are including an image that has both the reservation and recognized Sioux lands.
Beltran spoke of how Sanding Rock related to other fights, and she also mentioned something else. People from Mexico have also gone to Standing Rock. We know from other sources that Maya and Nahuatl speakers have traveled, and we have found compelling evidence that Inca and New Zealand native peoples have also gone. This is a critical fight for all first peoples, and it relates to local fights of economic, environmental and social justice.
We are embedding two videos. We believe in letting people speak. Beltran and Fernandez were both were at Sanding Rock. The first has the interview with them
The second has their witness at Standing Rock, and a blessing for sacred water.
There is a sense of elation. There is no way around it, but also caution. Gina Tiger Manueno was the first to sound the concern. She started by stating, “I know this is a victory for us. But I know that the fight is not over. And I really want to make sure that we acknowledge the water protectors. Because if it wasn’t for their resistance, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Manueno also added that “this fight is not over.”
She reminded the crowd that Energy Transfer made a statement that they have no plans to re-route the pipeline. They can afford the fines. As we were told by others, the water protectors plan to remain in camp and to continue to peacefully resist.
Julie Mell, from the California Nurses Association, also spoke about the experience of nurses at the medical tents. She spoke of the numbers, nationwide they represent close to 200,000 registered nurses. She stated that “today we celebrate a historic victory against one of the most powerful economic and political forces in the world: The fossil fuel industry.”
Mell added, “we have proudly stood with the leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of supporters including 2000 veterans assembled over the weekend demanding that the Dakota Access pipeline not go though tribal lands, posing a threat to water sources and sacred sites.”
There is a fear that the Environmental Report that has been requested will be used to fast-track the project. There is also a fear that the incoming administration will reverse this action.
It was mentioned in passing in San Diego, but during the weekend, United States military veterans asked for forgiveness from the tribes for the crimes committed in their view against native peoples. It was described at a very powerful moment and though the magic of youtube, we are embedding that too. This was referred in San Diego as part of the healing we need to do in other to overcome what is coming.
In the view of many prophecies among the first peoples, this is the seventh generation, that is facing this trial. This will determine if we survive as a species or not.
The credit is that of Indian Country Today.
We also did ask the US Army Corp and we got this official statement from them:
We value our long-standing relationship with Native American Tribes and have great respect for the cultures, traditions, and concerts of those tribes. We respect their right to peacefully protest and look forward to continuing to stringing pour relationship in the future. We welcome all messages from concerned citizens voting their opinion about the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Department of the Army is currently reviewing its decisions related to the pipeline and is exploring a range of options that consider the concerns raised by tribes and other stakeholders. We are unable to speculate on when the review will be completed or what the outcome of that review will be.