Source: The Nation
Indigenous water protectors are showing us how to fight back—and how to live again.
“I’ve never been so happy doing dishes,” Ivy Longie says, and then she starts laughing. Then crying. And then there is hugging. Then more hugging.
Less than two hours earlier, news came that the Army Corps of Engineers had turned down the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under the Missouri River. The company will have to find an alternate route and undergo a lengthy environmental assessment.
Ever since, the network of camps now housing thousands of water protectors has been in the throes of (cautious) celebration and giving thanks, from cheers to processions to round dances. Here, at the family home of Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Cody Two Bears, friends and family members who have been at the center of the struggle are starting to gather for a more private celebration.
Which is why the dishes must be done. And the soup must be cooked. And the Facetime calls must be made to stalwart supporters, from Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox to environmental icon Erin Brockovich. And the Facebook live videos must, of course, be made. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard—here as part of a delegation of thousands of anti-pipeline veterans—is on her way over. (“Exhilarated,” is how she says she feels when she arrives.) CNN must, of course, be watched, which to the amazement of everyone here gives full credit to the water protectors (while calling them “protesters”).
The climate movement already knew that mass organizing could get results. We learned it, most recently, in the Keystone XL fight and the resistance to Shell’s Arctic Drilling. Victories usually come incrementally, however, and at some delay after mass action.
Standing Rock is different. This time the movement was still out on the land in massive numbers when the news came down. The line between resistance and results is bright and undeniable. That kind of victory is rare precisely because it’s contagious, because it shows people everywhere that organizing and resistance is not futile. And as Donald Trump moves closer and closer to the White House, that message is very important indeed.