For Immediate Release
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Winter Caravan Organized by Nonprofits Heads to Standing Rock
Red Lightning and Lakota People’s Law Project are organizing a caravan traveling from California to North Dakota to support the water protectors in Standing Rock.
As the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline intensify, two nonprofits have joined together in organizing a winter caravan that will bring much needed supplies to the water protectors at Standing Rock.
Red Lightning and the Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) will be traveling from California to North Dakota, taking with them winter supplies ranging from heating stoves and generators to insulated clothing and log splitters.
“This is a historic fight for environmental and Native rights. The water protectors are up against a militarized force protecting a corporation threatening, in the name of profits, the lives of millions of people,” says Daniel Sheehan, chief counsel for LPLP who is traveling with the caravan.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has been decried by more than one hundred tribes and organizations across the country as a dangerous project that has already destroyed sacred places and could toxify the large Ogallala aquifer serving eight states, as well as contaminate the waterways used by the people of Standing Rock and 17 million people downstream the Missouri River.
Earlier this week, on Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that more analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is needed before construction can take place under Lake Oahe (the reservoir on the Missouri River). The Army Corps says they’ll work with the tribe on a timeline “that allows for robust discussion and analysis to be completed expeditiously.”
However, Energy Transfer Partners filed a cross-claim the same day, contending that previous documentation from the Army Corps allows the project to go forward, and that DAPL maintains a legal right-of-way without need for a written easement, thus allowing them to continue construction.
Red Lightning has built a village and media center at Standing Rock, and plans to heat their village and upgrade internet for the entire Reservation during this trip. The village includes guest and meeting teepees, a solar energy source, as well as two large dome structures.
“Winter is coming and our brave water protectors at Standing Rock need all of our support to stay on their land and survive below freezing temperatures,” says LeRoy West, camp lead for Red Lightning.
LPLP staff has been at the Oceti Sakowin camp since it was formed in August, and have been working closely with the camp to ensure adequate security and ongoing sanctity. The nonprofit was invited to document internal treaty meetings, and will be taking thousands of dollars worth of supplies to the camp. A professional videographer will be working with LPLP
A petition launched today by LPLP is calling for the thirty-eight banks behind DAPL to defund the project. It urges people to print out, and take to their bank, a resolution letter prepared by the nonprofit, decrying their bank’s involvement and threatening to pull out of the bank if it does not divest.
“We don’t want them using our money to endanger crucial water systems and sacred spaces. We won’t sit idle and continue supporting banks that don’t respect Native peoples or lands,” says Madonna Thunder Hawk, tribal liaison for LPLP, who has played a vital role in facilitating the Oceti Sakowin camp ceremonies.
The winter caravan will be making several stops, including in Los Angeles where the Southern California Indian Center will provide a blessing ceremony and collect donations and supplies to take to Standing Rock.
Daniel Sheehan is a Harvard trained Constitutional and public interest lawyer, public speaker and University lecturer. He’s participated in numerous well-known public interest cases including the Pentagon Papers Case, the Watergate Break-In Case, the Silkwood Case, the Iran Contra Scandal and others. As co-counsel for the Native American Rights Committee, operating out of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the ACLU, he participated in the preparation of amicus briefs that assisted in securing the dismissal of all criminal charges against the leaders of the American Indian Movement's occupation of Wounded Knee. Sheehan established the Christic Institute and then the Romero Institute, two non-profit public law and policy centers. He is the Chief Counsel of the Romero Institute, the parent organization of the Lakota People’s Law Project. Read more at www.danielpsheehan.com
Red Lightning has been supporting the water protectors at Standing Rock by providing heaters, solar panels and other much needed items. They’ve been working with water protectors since the beginning of October, and are now focusing on getting their shelters ready for the freezing winter. They’ve built a small village which includes a 44ft dome, and is powered by solar via a mobile generator. Red Lighting is a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of Empowerment Works, Inc., a global sustainability think-tank that promotes global collaboration in support of local solutions. Read more at www.redlightning.org/standingrock/
Lakota People’s Law Project has been partnering with tribes and leaders in South Dakota since 2005, exposing serious ongoing State violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act. LPLP has been funding and supporting Native American experts to work with the tribes in applying for federal IV-E planning grants to create tribally-run child and family service programs. Pine Ridge and Standing Rock Reservations received the Planning grants and are taking steps to develop their own programs. Staff members have been on the ground at the Oceti Sakowin camp as water protectors, documenting and supporting the call to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. LPLP is a subsidiary of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit public law and policy center focused on dismantling structural sources of injustice and creating positive solutions. Read more at www.lakotalaw.org