The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protest against the construction of a $3.8bn access oil pipeline in North Dakota continues unabated despite the bitter cold.
The state govenor, “Jack” Dalrymple III, used the freezing temperatures as a pretext to evict the protesters for their own protection.
However, this is more than plummeting mercury this is native America standing up to corporate interests in a direct clash of cultures.
The intimidation, violence and chill simply bolsters resolve.
Loretta Redding travelled from California to join the protest and admits the cold is a problem, but the warmth comes from the cameraderie:
“Everything is much more work and everybody is constantly worrying about everybody, but no one is going anywhere and that’s what I find really beautiful.”
The Dakota Access pipeline will carry 470,000 barrels of oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, where it will link up with the rest of the network.
The pipeline is almost complete except for the segment due to be fed under the Missouri River close to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation.
In early November the federal government intervened and prohibited the company from from crossing the river in order to review the permit issued by the landowners, the US Army Engineers corps stationed at nearby Cannon Ball, the review is over and the Sioux have been told to get of Dodge.
The construction company just wants to get on with the job.
Kelcy Warren is the CEO of energy transfer:“We’re simply a company that builds infrastructure, acting lawfully and doing everything we’re supposed to do and we’re going to build a safe pipeline and we’re gonna cross the river at that location.”
For the Sioux the Missouri River provides the tribal waters and any contamination would be cataclysmic.
It is also sacred ground.
Winona Kasto is a Cheyenne River Sioux:“It is sacred to us because it is our land and our ancestors were on this land before us. And, the places where they’re trying to put the pipeline is, you know, there’s burial grounds there. and those are sacred to us. You don’t pass on burial grounds.”
The Standing Rock Sioux do not stand alone thousands of Native American’s and others have travelled to Sacred Stone Camp to defy the diggers and their motivation.
These Native Americans refuse to bow down to the power behind the almighty dollar .
Many of the protesters see the defiance as a spiritual awakening.