Environment | Opinion

Winona LaDuke: Water protectors are still standing strong all over






Dylan Jennings, a council member for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, speaks at an inter-tribal water summit hosted by Honor the Earth in Minnesota in February 2017. Photo: Honor the Earth

As the Dakota Access Pipeline battle continues in the courts, Winona LaDuke, a citizen of the White Earth Nation and the founder of Honor The Earth, looks at how the #NoDAPL movement is spreading everywhere:
As the Trump administration forces the removal of many remaining water protectors on the banks of the Cannonball and Missouri River, there are many tears shed; tears of betrayal, tears of sorrow, and tears as people face the unknown. We have had many lessons thus far from our Standing Rock, for indeed, it is a movement’s Standing Rock, our Selma moment. And, as the bulldozers and an emboldened Morton County march forward, water protectors are forced to remove, as thousands of our ancestors before. We have been here before, it is the American way from Sandy Lake to Big Mountain.

This past week, I was disturbed in my peaceful writing by three grandsons, as they tumbled through my kitchen on Round Lake. One had on my helmet, intended to defray rubber bullets from Morton County, another donned on a gas mask, the third a bandana. All carried shields. It was then that I knew that the Water Protectors are everywhere.

Reports of Enbridge leak problems and “integrity digs” came in from water protectors across Leech Lake; to the east, the Bad River tribal council, prepared with their lawyers to face Enbridge and the company’s expired rights of ways and anger. An early February gathering in Duluth, brought together 80 indigenous leaders from both sides of the Medicine Line – Canada and the U.S. Derek Nepinak, the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Assembly of Chiefs sat with LaDonna Bravebull Allard, from the Sacred Stone Camp, to talk of pipelines and water. Water protectors from Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Rice Lake and HoChunk territory – elected leaders, and wild rice harvesters. All shared their stories of the Black Snake, and the legal battles ahead to protect the water and generations. Water protectors are everywhere.

Read More on the Story:
Winona LaDuke: The Water Protectors are Everywhere (Indian Country Today 2/28)