Good News for Standing Rock from Around the World

Sonoma County, California — “Think global and act local.  This is the intention behind the actions of the Commission on Human Rights, which passed a resolution on Tuesday night in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline,” according to a November 18 press release from the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights.

“We wanted to support the Standing Rock Sioux, but also the actions of our local tribal leadership from the Coyote Valley Band and Kashia Band of Pomo, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and Ya-Ka-Ama, as well as the many residents of Sonoma County who have mobilized around this issue,” says Vice Chair Dmitra Smith.

“The Commission joins nineteen U.S. city governments and more than 300 tribes who have rallied in support of the Standing Rock Sioux’s stance against the routing of the Dakota Access oil pipeline under the Missouri River near their reservation.  After last night’s unanimous vote, the Commission is urging elected officials to consider adopting similar proclamations county wide,” the press release continues.

Meanwhile Norway’s Bank DNB announced that it is going to sell its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project. As actions were occurring around the world on November 15, hundreds of thousands of signatures were delivered to the Bank’s offices in Norway. Two days later, the bank made its decision.

The Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council sent the following note:

We are pleased that Bank DNB is weakening its ties to DAPL. It was a wise decision, especially given Energy Transfer Partners’ continuous disregard for our land, water, and sovereignty. Recent comments by Energy Transfer Partners CEO indicate the company seems intent on ramping up aggression, which is why it is of the utmost importance that other banks follow the example of DNB.

This major milestone could only happen because around the world, people are standing in support of the Standing Rock Sioux and the courageous water defenders on the ground right now in North Dakota. The fight against the DAPL is not over yet. It is important to force other banks to pull out of DAPL.

They need our support more than ever with the incoming Trump administration. Donald Trump owns between $500,000 and $1 millions in stock in the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. He supports DAPL.

Meanwhile, around 300 people gathered November 15 in Sonoma County, California, at the downtown Santa Rosa Citibank to protest it funding the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. It was one of hundreds of protests at Citibanks. An estimated 600 people attended an inspiring November 6 benefit at the Sebastopol Grange for the indigenous people and their allies, raising nearly $29,000.

“This is the rebirth of the native nation,” declared Adam, the indigenous man who led the drummers and chanters at both events. “This is a spiritual movement connected to our legal rights. This is the traditional relating to the political. We have kept our word; the U.S. government has not.” Young people and elders have been at the fronts of both the Sonoma County and North Dakota events.

“Wars are fought primarily over land and resources,” Adam declared. “The prophecy of a black snake is coming true. Standing Rock is a continuation of the Indian Wars that we have dealt with for a long time,” Adam asserted as he explained the threat of the 1,200 miles long DAPL. It costs $3.8 million and would cross both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to carry fracked oil.

“This is blood oil,” declared elder Tom Goldtooth, interviewed November 17 on KPFA.FM’s Flashpoints program. “They are degrading our sacred space. They are commodifying nature. We’re fighting for everyone, not just Native people. 17 million people live downstream from this Missouri River site, depending on it for their water, which an oil spill could pollute.” He also described this struggle in the context of “unpredictable global climate change.”

“This is about the privatization of water by corporations,” Goldtooth said.” At both Sonoma County gatherings children and adults held signs like “Water is Sacred,” “Love Your Mother,” and “Water is Life.”

The Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partner’s pipeline on November 14 and called for “additional discussion and analysis.”

Standing Rock may seem far away from San Francisco’s North Bay, but by joining in solidarity and educating each other about what’s at stake, we can make a difference.

Shepherd Bliss ( is a retired college teacher who has contributed to 24 books. Read other articles by Shepherd, or visit Shepherd's website.