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“When something has to be done it has to be done.” -Standing Rock Organizer

Thousands of people from around the world, including hundreds of indigenous and tribal nations, are currently camping near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). What started as a fight to protect sacred Sioux lands from destruction has become a broader struggle for Native American rights, freshwater conservation, and an end to fossil fuel development and corporate greed. On the frontlines, water protectors are facing increasing violence and police repression, but stand strong in peaceful, nonviolent prayer. This kind of unshakable determination has enabled the movement to effectively halt construction of a major pipeline, and has inspired people from around the world to lend their support.

The situation at Standing Rock has escalated significantly over the past few months, and it’s more important than ever to join the fight. Whether it be camping in solidarity in North Dakota, or showing your support from home, there are several ways you can help this important movement.

Spread the word

The first way you can help is to spread the word on social media, in personal and professional networks, with local news outlets or even your state representatives. Social media has played a particularly crucial role in this movement, by providing a the global community with a front-row seat to the happenings at Standing Rock. As a result, it has grown to become the largest Native American gathering on US soil in modern history, and the total number of campers fluctuates between 3,000 and 15,000 people.

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Take action at home

There are several online campaigns being circulated to pressure our leaders to do the right thing in North Dakota. Earthworks currently has two petitions that you can sign on to today, and show your representatives that this an issue you care about:

Attend or plan an action near you

Solidarity rallies, marches, camps, and prayer vigils in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and in support of water protectors are taking place around the country and the world. If you are interested in attending one of these events in your city, or want to plan one, visit the #NoDAPL Solidarity network for more resources.

Keep direct action possible

Donations to the legal fund make it possible for effective nonviolent direct action to continue. People are getting arrested almost every day in order to stop this pipeline, and the legal fund works to cover their bail as well as defense. Arrests are becoming increasingly frequent, the charges have escalated from misdemeanors to felonies. The National Lawyers Guild, the oldest and largest human rights bar association in the United States, operates a pro bono legal clinic in camp 7 days a week known as the Water Protector Legal Collective.

Think twice about sending used goods

Due to widespread international support, camp has been flooded with generous donations of food, warm clothes, and other supplies. In my experience, if anyone found themselves without a basic necessity during their stay in camp, they were covered. While this may be a good problem to have, it is still a problem. As donations pour in, the kitchen sometimes struggles to prepare all the fresh food they have before it goes bad. Piles and piles of clothing need to be sorted at main camp before they can be distributed, and if it rains or gets windy, some items will become unusable.

Waste like this violates the principles of sustainable living that the Standing Rock Sioux are fighting so hard to uphold. Make sure before you donate a physical item, that it is something needed at camp. You can always check the camp website or Amazon Wishlist for an up to date accounting of items needed. As camp organizers are currently preparing for winter, winterized tents, tipis, yurts, and other weatherproof structures are especially needed.

Donate to the mission, not just to the camp

Styrofoam plates and plastic utensils may seem convenient, but they are not healthy or eco-friendly options in the long term. Think about sending reusable materials that will endure the test of time as well as heavy use by campers. Additionally, donations produced by renewable sources of energy, or that directly support a transition away from fossil fuels, will help this movement and others achieve the ultimate goal of keeping it in the ground.

A one way ticket to North Dakota

To continue to halt construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, water protectors need to win a battle of patience. Every day that campers engage in direct action at a construction site is a day that pipeline workers go home. This is costing the company millions of dollars, making the project less financially appealing every day. It’s also a numbers game: the more people that are willing to put their bodies on the line, the longer the movement will last. Energy Transfer Partners is getting increasingly desperate, and is using every play in their book to break the patience of the water protectors and shrink their numbers.

Travelling to Cannon Ball, ND, camping in solidarity, and attending non-violent direct actions on the frontlines of DAPL construction are the more effective ways to help this movement. At camp I was fed three meals a day and welcomed into a community like none other. All you need to bring is warm winter camping gear, the desire to help out around camp, and the courage to take a stand. If you have building or carpentry skills, or specialize in renewable power generation, your skills are especially in demand!

Many of us are unable to make the trip to North Dakota, but still want to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock. If this applies to you, please consider helping out this important movement by spreading the word, signing a petition, attending an action in your town, or making a donation.

Post by Molly Dunton

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