Standing Rock Has Become the First Major American Battleground of the 21st Century

As peaceful protestors at Standing Rock are under attack while protecting the water of 17 million Americans, the court battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline wages on.

Miss Rosenby Miss Rosen
Photo: Hundreds of Native American protestors and their supporters, who fear the Dakota Access Pipeline will polluted their water, forced construction workers and security forces to retreat and work to stop. AFP/Robyn BECK/Getty Images.

Standing Rock has become the first major American battleground of the twenty-first century. Thousands of peaceful, unarmed water protectors who come from all around the United States face down militarized riot police acting on behalf of oil companies day after day in an effort to protect the Missouri River from the on-going construction of the 1,720-mile, $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which would threaten the water supply of 17 million Americans in four states.

Also: 5 Things You Need to Know About Standing Rock

The construction of DAPL violates two treaties between the United States government and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The United States Federal Court has allowed construction of the pipeline to continue across sacred grounds that include known burial sites of the Sioux. In an effort to block construction, the water protectors have engaged in non-violent acts of protest, making them targets for police brutality and abuse.

A view of a protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota where members of some 200 Native American tribes from across the US and Canada have gathered to lend their support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL, September 3, 2016. Drive on a state highway along the Missouri River, amid the rolling hills and wide prairies of North Dakota, and you'll come across a makeshift camp of Native Americans -- united by a common cause. Members of some 200 tribes have gathered here, many raising tribal flags that flap in the unforgiving wind. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the nearly 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A view of a protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota where members of some 200 Native American tribes from across the US and Canada have gathered to lend their support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), September 3, 2016. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The police have arrested more than 460 water protectors since protests began on August 10. The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Beast report that protestors have been flanked by military vehicles releasing high-pitched “sound cannon” blasts, shot by rubber bullets, pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed, arrested of trumped up charges, then hooded, put in stress positions, strip searched, and placed in dog kennels in the basement of the police station for days, with numbers written on their arms.

On October 25, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instituted a 12-day, 14-mile “No Fly Zone” over Cannonball, North Dakota, where the protesters are camped, prohibiting all aircraft, including drones, with the exception of law enforcement officials. As the Washington Post reports, “…the establishment of a ‘No-Fly Zone’ is tantamount to a declaration of war.”

Black Elk, the Sitting Bull College professor, told the Los Angeles Times, “It is an absolutely historic event…. People from all over the world who have looked out of the corner of their eye and then looked away in shame—they’re not looking away anymore. They’re coming to stand with us.”

This includes members of the police. Two police departments have returned from deployment and refused to return. Others are speaking out against the decision to deploy out-of-state police to fight against the water protectors. Minnesota LT. Governor Tina Smith told MPR News, “I do not support [Hennepin County] Sheriff Stanek’s decision to send his deputies to North Dakota, not did we approve his decision to begin with. I do not have any control over the Sheriff’s actions, which I think were wrong, and I believe he should bring his deputies home, if he hasn’t already. I strongly support the rights of all people to peacefully protest, including, tonight, the Standing Rock protest.” Lawmakers are considering amending legislation to avoid future deployment for such police actions.

Native American protestors wave a clan flag over land designated for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), after protestors confronted contractors and private security guards working on the oil pipeline project, forcing them to retreat, September 3, 2016, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.

Native American protestors wave a clan flag over land designated for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), after protestors confronted contractors and private security guards working on the oil pipeline project, forcing them to retreat, September 3, 2016, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.

Even the buffalo of North Dakota lent their support to the cause. In a clip widely circulated on October 27, a water protector was speaking with a reporter, when he saw a herd of buffalo rally in the distance.

The battle continues, both on the land and in the courts. On Monday, November 14, the US Army Corps of Engineers called for “additional discussion and analysis,” which causes a delay in the construction of DAPL, as Entergy Transfer Partners (EFT), the owners of DAPL, do not have permission to begin drilling under the Missouri River.

As The Guardian reports, President-elect Donald Trump’s financial disclosure forms show he has between $500,000 and $1m invested in (EFT), and $500,000 and $1m holding in Phillips 66, which will have a 25% stake in the DAPL if it is completed. Since his election, EFT’s stock has risen 15%.

On November 27, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds, Neco Case, Ledisi will perform at DAR Constitutional Hall in Washington, D.C., as part of “Stand With Standing Rock,” a benefit concert.

That same day, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, Joael Rafael, and The Late John Trudell’s Band Bad Dog will perform at Prairie Knights Pavilion, Fort Yates, ND, as part of “Stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock” benefit concert.

Here are some ways you can stand tall with Standing Rock:

·       Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux

·       Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List

·       Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund

·       Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account

·       Contribute to Red Warrior Camp


Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.