Stunning Victory for Standing Rock Protesters

A giant corporation backed by a massive government protected by a violent militarized police force was defeated today in one of the most stunning turn of events in a calendar year chock-full of them.

If we learned anything today it’s that if enough people stand up for what they believe in like the thousands of activists have been doing at Standing Rock, North Dakota for months, the voice of the people cannot be unheard. In other words, protests actually work.

In a shocking turn of events today, the Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny the easement needed to go forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline. In other words, Barack Obama denied them the permit to drill any further.

Thousands of protesters are rejoicing and the Native Americans won a major battle against corporate America. It is a surreal sentence to write, considering most activists in the region have been expecting the worst of results. After months of being cannon hosed, rubber bulleted and pepper sprayed in below freezing temperatures, they won. They fucking won.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the December deadline for the Natives and protesters to leave the encampments. The Army Corps set this deadline a mere two weeks ago thus creating a lingering sense of unease and fear. This prompted over 3000 United Stated Veterans to converge onto the Standing Rock encampments with a force of power unseen in modern protests.

They arrived this weekend en masse by plane, train, chartered buses and cars which one can only assume shook the Army Corps to the core. So much so that they immediately shut down the estimated 3.7 billion dollar project in the most shocking turn of events.

The Army Corps released a statement, “Today the U.S Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protected their water through peaceful protest and won. Maybe this is a more shocking victory than the Presidential Election. I mean, think about it. This is a 1,172-mile pipeline. Most of it has already been built, except for a 20-mile stretch of land near the Standing Rock reservation. And a group of unarmed Native American protesters stood in the way and won.

Andrew Jackson must be rolling in his grave. An American tradition has been to suppress and oppress the Native American from treaty breakings to the Trail of Tears. But today we see a real life, real time victory for a people who have been shit on for centuries.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault II released a statement saying, “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historical decision. We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement.”

The tribal youth who did begin this movement deserve all the credit in the world from all of us. They never wavered or backed down. Despite all of the obstacles in their way. Despite the skin of their horses being ripped off their limbs from rubber bullets. Despite cannon hoses causing sickness and injury to peaceful protesters. Despite alleged concussion grenades severing an arm off one protester. These strong-willed water protectors stopped at nothing. And they won.

Conservation groups around the country are living in a dream world today. In a year full of painful politics, this is a welcoming event. Today, corporate America was defeated by the people in a battle that will be written about for centuries.

The power of protest is more monumental today than it was yesterday. And it is all thanks to the Native Americans who fought long and hard for the safety of something as simple as water. What a time to be alive.

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