If you are one of those people that believes that the Standing Rock protest is over and that the protesters should all go home, you are one of those people that needs to check again.
Yes, it is true that on December 4, 2016 the United States Army Corp of Engineers, at the behest of President Obama, was ordered to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline’s request for an easement to construct the next leg of their pipeline under the Missouri River, which runs through the Standing Rock Tribe’s lands. Further, it is also true that they are swiftly approaching their construction deadlines to retain their contracts with the various oil companies that they are working with. However, this does not mean that the battle is over.
Another factor has now set in that will help the Lakota and Standing Rock delay the pipeline’s construction. This is the power of nature. It is very difficult for construction equipment to dig under earth that is frozen solid and covered with six to ten feet of snow. On top of the stoppage ordered by the federal government, this weather delay will also hurt the pipeline’s chances of making its construction deadlines. This is very important to make note of, but it is more important to make note of the fact that this also cannot be taken as meaning that the battle is over.
There is, yet, something else that is also important to make note of, however. Just one day before the Army Corps of Engineers was ordered to stand down, a whole slew of American Military Veterans showed up at Standing Rock, and in an extremely emotional, and frankly, surprising display, they apologized, directly to the Elders of the Standing Rock Lakota Tribe, for all of the past evils committed against the Lakota by the United States and its military personnel. Even more emotional, and extremely important, is the fact that they then swore their allegiance to the Lakota and their cause at Standing Rock. It is not a coincidence that the very next day, construction on the pipeline was halted. The government would have had an extremely hard time explaining to the American people why they fired on, assaulted, or arrested American War Heroes.
There is no doubt that this is a massive victory because this delay gives the Standing Rock Lakota the opportunity to prepare for the lengthy court battles that they will soon find themselves entangled in. It is not as if the DAPL is just going to give up on construction of the pipeline. They have millions of dollars invested in the project. They are going to use every resource in their arsenal to ensure that construction continues as soon as it is possible, no matter how much harm it may cause to the Lakota at Standing Rock. If it is a lengthy court battle that they believe that they can better afford than can the Tribe, which will win the day for their profit margins, they will use that tool to its fullest possible extent.
What this means is that the DAPL is not going anywhere anytime soon. They are going to have their equipment and an appropriate compliment of guards and workers camped out right next to the last work site, waiting and ready to restart construction just soon as they are given the go. Though, lengthy legal cases could hurt their cause; as well, people need to realize that the American legal system is extremely friendly to multi-million dollar corporations. There are multiple hardship delays and extensions that the DAPL can and is already applying for, which means that they may very well be able to get an extension on their deadlines. The extensions will either give them the time that they need to wait until the earth is unfrozen, or they will give them the time that they need to wait until Donald Trump, who has already shown his support for the pipeline, takes action. He has promised to help them get back on track; so, all the DAPL really needs to do is stall for time.
So, to anyone who is encouraged to help the Standing Rock Lakota defend their lands, please, do not be fooled into going home early, not coming, or into to delaying that shipment of badly needed equipment or supplies. It is true that the Chairman of the Tribe, Dave Archambault II, encouraged a lot of people to go home, but he was not encouraging them to go home because the ordeal was over. He was encouraging them to go home, or stay away, because the weather at Standing Rock is not going to be friendly for a little while. The Northern Great Plains Region of the United States can reach Tundra conditions during this time of year. He was looking out for the health and well-being of people who are not accustomed to that type of harsh weather. He and other members of the Council have made it clear that if people are willing to stay and commit to the arduous work that is surviving in that kind of weather, they are more than welcome to remain or make their way to the camps. It was the Council’s main point that this really is not the time of year for someone to be making a casual visit, or to come to the area if they are not completely sure that they can handle the weather.
The real drama will pick back up in the Spring when the snows have melted and the roads out to the pipeline’s work sites have become passable. However, it is the opinion of this writer that the Tribe needs to call for as many reinforcements as they can, long before that ever happens. Starting now would be more than appropriate. If you can survive the cold, get there, and help them make all of the necessary preparations for the next round of encounters. History has shown that conflicts like this do not end until there is an absolute winner. The better that the Tribe is prepared now, the more likely it will be that they will be able to outlast the corporation when Spring comes. Now is the time to dig-in at Standing Rock!
What do you think? Do you like what is being said here? To check out more of Kent Allen Halliburton’s work, visit his politics and history blog. You will find yourself entranced at www.refusetocooperate3.blogspot.com.