President Obama’s administration has just joined forces with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to ensure the livelihoods of their Dakotan community.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been fighting a bitter battle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which was planned to route underneath a reservoir, endangering the community’s water supply.
The Army Corps of Engineers have refused to grant the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners – the company behind the $3.8 million, four-state project – permission to extend the pipeline beneath the Missouri River reservoir.
The company has since released a statement slamming the Army Corps’ ruling, alleging that President Obama’s administration was determined to delay the matter until he leaves office.
The statement reads:
The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favour of currying favour with a narrow and extreme political constituency.
They have accused President Obama of delaying the construction of the pipeline until January, when he is succeeded in the Oval Office by President-elect, Donald Trump, who is a supporter of the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the people of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe stand firm against the uncertain future of their land and their water supply, protesting on federal land through the plummeting temperatures of the bitter Dakota winter.
Miles Allard, a member of the tribe, said:
The whole world is watching.
I’m telling all our people to stand up and not to leave until this is over.
The Army Corps’ decision was met with chants of ‘mni wichoni’ — which means ‘water is life’ in Lakota Sioux.
Carla Youngbear of the Meskwaki Potawatomi tribe said:
I have grandchildren and I’m going to have great grandchildren. They need water. Water is why I’m here.
Moving forward from the tensions, U.S. Secretary for the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement that the Corps’ ‘thoughtful approach… ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts.’
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe have received support from public figures such as Mark Ruffalo.
In a moment of huge historical significance, the unrest during these protests have lead to a touching union between the Standing Rock tribe and a group of American war veterans, who have rallied around the community.
Their support has been received as a gesture of apology for the detrimental conduct by the military toward Native Americans in history.
The future of the tribe’s water supply remains to be seen as the search for an alternative route for the pipeline begins.