Since April of this year there has been a protest against the $3.8 Billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL, a company based in Texas), a major construction project near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The project is a 1,168-mile-long crude-oil pipeline that will transport 570,000 barrels of oil each day from North Dakota to Illinois, along a route just half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The pipeline was originally scheduled to be constructed near Bismarck, North Dakota, but the citizens there complained of the potential contamination of their water so the project was moved to a new location. The Army Corps of Engineers authorized the decision to re-locate the project without adequate environmental or archaeological investigation, or consideration for the likelihood that the pipeline will damage sacred sites, burial grounds and wildlife habitats.
The protest started on April 1 when a group from Standing Rock created the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp to protect the land. Others who agreed with them swelled their numbers to where there are now thousands who have assembled, many of whom are Native Americans from many different tribal nations. The protesters begin their protest with prayer and conduct their resistance non-violently, which is in direct contradiction with how the “established press” has described the protest. It is only through social media that the true non-violent nature of the protest has been presented. The protesters have been sprayed with pepper spray and bitten by security dogs. Lawsuits have been filed to stop the project but, unfortunately, the courts have ruled to allow the project to go forward. The Obama administration has not allowed the project to go over or under federal land, but the project is still scheduled to go forward.
Join the GLIDE family this Sunday as we hear and support the Standing Rock Sioux people as they come to Celebration to explain how the “established press” has misrepresented the demonstrations and what this project means for the Sioux people.
I see this, and I hope you agree, as a struggle over the stewardship of God’s creation and justice for the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. This is a spiritual battle. This is a time that we can collectively use our power for a just and life-giving future as we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Angela Brown
Associate Pastor: Congregational Care and Advocacy
GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church