Wounded Knee Standoff Leader on Dakota Access Resistance: ‘There’s Fresh Energy Here’

By Sameer Rao Aug 29, 2016

Resistance to construction of the Dakota Access pipeline—a controversial oil pipeline extension that Standing Rock Sioux tribal members are currently protesting against despite a federal ruling—has grown into a movement supported by celebrities, other tribes and pioneering Native activists.

"My life is almost over, but there’s fresh energy here," said Clyde Bellecourt to the Los Angeles Times, who reported on the scene from North Dakota Saturday (August 27). "Save the children—that’s what this is all about."

Bellecourt co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the late 1960s, famously participating in the occupation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973. Another participant in that stand-off, Don Cuny, echoed Bellecourt’s sentiment about the pipeline protests by saying, "This kind of reminds me of back in Wounded Knee." 

As the Times and Indian Country Media Today Network both noted, the legal and protest actions of the Standing Rock Sioux to stop pipeline construction has also received support from celebrities Shailene Woodley ("Divergent") and Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"). Supporters tweeted their solidarity with hashtags #RezpectOurWater, #NoDAPL and #NoDakotaAccess:

Many Oceti Sakowin men and women (more commonly referred to as the Sioux) continue to risk arrest to protest the pipeline, with approximately 30 having been detained by police earlier this month. The tribe has also filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers in order to end construction. Last week, a federal judge said he would issue a decision by September 9. 

The resistance to prevent this leg of construction for the $3.7 billion oil pipeline reflects Native communities’ concerns about fuel transportation on or near reservation lands, the destruction of ancestral sites and excessive pollution of their main water source.

(H/t The Atlantic)