Scott Galindez / Reader Supported News – 2016-11-20 20:03:35
(November 19, 2016) — On Tuesday, November 15th, over 200 actions took place around the world in solidarity with water protectors at Standing Rock. The actions were called by Native American leaders around the country. I attended two of the actions, one in Des Moines, Iowa, and another later in the day in Omaha, Nebraska.
Many of the actions, including the one in Omaha, were at offices of the Army Corp of Engineers, who on Monday who dealt a blow to the progress of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying in a letter that more analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is needed before construction can take place under the Missouri River.
Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa hailed the decision but warned that talk of rerouting the pipeline around Standing Rock was not a solution. Fallon argued that rerouting the pipeline would not protect communities down-river from a spill. After a rally of 150 water protectors in Des Moines, Fallon led a delegation to the EPA headquarters to encourage them to tell the Army Corp that the pipeline would have a negative impact on the environment and should be stopped.
Fallon told reporters on his way to the EPA, “We will not stop fighting, as long as there is no oil running through the pipeline.”
Landowners on the pipeline route were present, including Zach Ide, who talked about how emotional he got when his grandmother called him to tell him that the pipeline construction had started on his family’s land. He said his grandmother had to keep her blinds closed as the workers buried the pipeline about 150 yards from her home.
Ide was critical of Governor Terry Branstad for doing business with a limited liability partnership to transport toxic chemicals through Iowa. He also asked how crazy it was that Iowa only required a $250,000 surety bond in case of an accident.
Des Moines Says No to Dakota Access Pipeline
In Omaha, 300 water protectors rallied outside the headquarters of the Army Corp of Engineers. The rally, led by Native leaders, was opened with a prayer from an Omaha Tribe elder and songs from Omaha Tribe drummers.
Fred Lemere, of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, who will be an associate chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, told those gathered that he didn’t see “professional protestors, I see my Omaha relatives, I see my Winnebago relatives, I see my Sioux relatives, I see my Meskwaki relatives, I see my Ojibwe relatives, I see my Lakota relatives, I see Nebraskans, I see Iowans, I see farmers, I see those who come from those communities, I see no professional protesters. I see people who care more about the water than money. I see people who care more about the land than power, who care more about the generations, the children and the grand children and those still to come. That is who I see here today.”
Lemere, a member of the American Indian Movement in the 70s, told the crowd that he doesn’t see good things coming with the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency.
He fears that one of Trump’s first acts will be to send troops to rough up Indian people at Standing Rock and clear them away from the path of the pipeline. He said we will need 50,000 not just 5 or 6 thousand people to go to Standing Rock and defend the land.
Frank LaMere: “It’s Easy to Pull People Apart, Harder to Unite”
Michael Wolfe, the tribal chairman of the Omaha Nation, also addressed the crowd. Wolfe called those gathered a “visual prayer.”
Wolfe told the crowd about a meeting he and Standing Rock Sioux chief David Archambault and other tribal leaders had where Chief Archambault asked how much support he would receive if they fought the pipeline.
Wolfe, also known as White Tailed Deer, went on to explain that he did know how much support would come, he expressed his gratitude that people from all over the world are standing up and supporting the resistance.
Wolfe was also active in the American Indian Movement and asked the crowd, “Why do we Native Americans always have to stand up for our rights when they get to enforce their rights on us?” He thanked everyone for being there and called on them to spread the news when they leave, traveling in all directions.
Since the rally was in Omaha, Wolfe also touched on the threat that the Keystone Pipeline would return. Wolfe warned that with Trump being a businessman, he would side with the moneyed interests.
He called on Trump to “not let the dollar deafen his ears or blind his eyes, look and hear us, we are crying out for help, don’t let this continue Trump, show a human side of yourself, show that you are representing all of America, not just the rich.”
Michael Wolfe: We are All One Tribe
Watch the full Omaha rally here:
Omaha Stands with Standing Rock
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador’s slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice.
Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush’s first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.