Standing Rock protesters celebrate ‘big victory’ as pipeline construction halted

Protesters shouted 'water is life' upon learning Dakota Access Pipeline construction had been halted nearing the Standing Rock reservation.

Protesters shouted ‘water is life’ upon learning Dakota Access Pipeline construction had been halted nearing the Standing Rock reservation. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)


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‘This is not our land’ 1:08

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Standing Rock protesters celebrated Sunday as news broke that construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory has been halted.

Moira Kelley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The decision came a day before the government’s deadline for the several hundred people at the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires, encampment to leave the federal land. But demonstrators say they’re prepared to stay, and authorities say they won’t forcibly remove them.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said her decision was based on the need to “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline’s crossing.

“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”


Upon learning the pipeline construction has been halted, some demonstrators headed toward the Backwater Bridge in Cannonball, N.D., which is blocked off by law enforcement and has been the site of violent clashes between protesters and police. No violence broke out at the site Sunday. (CBC )

The 1,885-kilometre pipeline — owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP — is mostly complete, except for a segment planned to run under Lake Oahe just outside the reservation near Cannon Ball, N.D. The Dallas-based company did not immediately comment on the news.

“People are breathing a sigh of relief today and the sun is shining bright and there’s blue skies here in Cannonball,” protester Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of the Colomb Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba, told CBC News.

“There’s certainly an atmosphere of celebration at this show of power and influence of the climate Indigenous rights movement here in the United States.”

‘Water is life’

For months, thousands of people have descended upon a handful of camps in the area to voice opposition to the pipeline, which they said threatened drinking water and would harm sacred sites.

‘This is a big victory for water protectors that have been here for months and months and months.’ – Clayton Thomas-Muller, Colomb Cree Nation

The largest is the Oceti Sakowin Camp north of Cannonball River, land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency operated under the U.S. Department of Defense.

The protest has garnered support from thousands who have flocked to North Dakota to protest against the completion of the line.

Hundreds of demonstrators near the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp broke into cheers and chanted “water is life” in the Lakota Sioux language as news spread constructed was halted.

“This is a big victory for water protectors that have been here for months and months and months,” Thomas-Muller said.

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‘Water is life’ at Standing Rock1:12

The tribe issued a statement thanking protesters, supporters and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.

“With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and our loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well,” the statement reads.

GFX MAP: Standing Rock/Dakota Access Protest Key Areas


However, some of the protesters, who call themselves water protectors, say they are staying put.

Miles Allard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said he was pleased by the decision but remained cautious, saying opponents of the pipeline “don’t know what [president-elect Donald] Trump is going to do.”

Allard says he’s been telling his people “to stand up and not to leave until this is over.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Department of Justice will “continue to monitor the situation” and stands “ready to provide resources to help all those who can play a constructive role in easing tensions.”

‘It’s nice to see the tide turning’

Earlier on Sunday, protester Laralyn RiverWind, who is of Cherokee and Muskogee heritage, told CBC News: “We’re really grateful that other cultures are coming out to support.”

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Natives not ‘extinct’0:29

“In the past, Native people have been disregarded and unheard and forgotten and we’ve come across so many people who have been taught in school that Native people don’t exist anymore, that we’re all extinct. And so it’s nice to see the tide turning and Indigenous people being valued for the portion of knowledge and wisdom that we have to share with the world,” she said.

‘A chilling signal’

Not everyone is pleased with the outcome.

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer said the decision from the feds “sends a very chilling signal” for those who want to build infrastructure in the U.S.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple called it a “serious mistake” that “prolongs the dangerous situation” of having several hundred protesters who are camped out on federal land during cold, wintry weather.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called it “big-government decision-making at its worst.” The Wisconsin Republican tweeted Sunday night that he looks “forward to putting this anti-energy presidency behind us.”

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, whose department has done much of the policing for the protests, said that “local law enforcement does not have an opinion” on the decision and that his department will continue to “enforce the law.”


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6 Responses to Standing Rock protesters celebrate ‘big victory’ as pipeline construction halted

  1. sunaJAeon says:

    These “Injuns” became warriors today,
    you have earned our respect,
    and we Americans salute you and take a lesson from you,
    to stand up and stand together against this Satanic Cult in DC
    and remove these people and restore our Nation


  2. kznwatch says:

    People Power has spoken! Once a Warrior– Always a Warrior! The story of Standing Rock went viral all over the world… God be the Sioux to ever win through!


  3. Emm Jay says:

    Beautiful! Joy, joy … and more joy! 😂


  4. hirundine608 says:

    I think the people did a good job. Yet the scourge that is the pipes continue to cross the continent. For a hundred years, producers have been getting their products to market without them. Yet now they are all-fired important, they say? The battle is won for the Sioux. The war still rages. The bankers are never happy.



    A polar shift will break those lines and cause mega pollution. Satanists look to dominate after the shift,

    They have store millions of rounds of 40 caliber.


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