Locals React to Standing Rock Victory

Hundreds of people attended solidarity marches and rallies in the Valley in recent months for Native Americans who were fighting a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota. On December 4, they won. The U.S. Army's Corps of Engineers announced that it would reject a building permit for the pipeline.

Susan Hay attended a recent rally in Keene in solidarity with Standing Rock. She told the Valley Post she is concerned that president-elect Donald Trump may try to reverse the recent decision to stop the pipeline. But, Hay said, "I am so delighted about the local young people out there learning, and caring, and putting themselves on the line for this cause."

A photo of a recent Standing Rock rally in Brattleboro is at:


Maggie Mason is a student at Keene State College. She organized two well-attended rallies in Keene in solidarity with Standing Rock. Mason told the Valley Post, "I think it's important we celebrate the good news but in no way should we assume this fight is over. We should use the joy and excitement of this news to help rejuvenate ourselves so that we can continue to fight for and protect our water."

Ellen Schwartz lives in Brattleboro and is a leader of the Vermont Workers Center. She attended a recent rally in Brattleboro in solidarity with Standing Rock. "This victory shows what is possible when people unify," she told the Valley Post. "We need to keep up the pressure. Ultimately, we need to move away from fossil fuels not only at Standing Rock, but around the country and the world. TD Bank is still invested in this project, and other pipelines and fossil fuel projects. I still want to see our public monies -- state funds -- divested from TD Bank until they get out of the business of funding the fossil fuel industry."

Steven Botkin was one of the organizers of a Standing Rock solidarity rally in Amherst in September. About 100 people attended the event. On December 6, he told the Valley Post his reaction to the news that the pipeline has been stopped, at least for now. "Celebrate but don't be complacent," Botkin said. He and other activists will hold a rally on December 12 from noon until 1 p.m. in front of TD Bank in Amherst to encourage people to close their accounts until the bank withdraws its funding of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Jen Hudziec attended a recent solidarity rally in Keene. She told the Valley Post, "I feel that this decision acknowledges the Native American community and the sacred lands of the Sioux tribe. The ripples of indigenous solidarity have effected our society on a profound level and have reminded us of our connection to the natural world and to one another."


Although I work with 350VT I

Although I work with 350VT I can only speak for myself. I am weary to say the least and I hope this is not a sort of distraction for Trump to make a chess move. However, I want to focus on all the positive things that have come out of this struggle. I am grateful that the Army Corps could see that more work needs to be done environmentally, I do hope that they also see that more work needs to be done on a humanitarian level too. I think it is something worth celebrating because the people at Standing Rock have worked so hard and stayed so solid in their prayer and nonviolence and I feel that the world is feeling their prayers. The healing of this nation is beginning and it will continue to spread because it is a force that cannot be stopped. I follow Lyla June Johnston and I appreciate her view that for the first time a unification of the Army and the Indigenous has happened. This is a huge leap for our country and the baby steps of putting people over profit are in place. I hope that this is just the first victory in the fight against the black snake and all pipelines. So, I celebrate this decision knowing that there is more work to be done. Many people are facing illegitimate legal charges. I encourage people not to think of this as a time to move on, but to build upon this victory. To take the positive energy and fight for policy that protects the earth and all species. And to have faith that love and respect will triumph.

Phoebe Gooding
(organizer of a Standing Rock solidarity rally in Brattleboro)

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