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Request[AMA Request] Someone who attended the Nirvana "MTV Unplugged" show in 1993.

Apr 10th 2018 by Meunderwears • 8 Questions • 1294 Points

Hello Redditors, my name is Charles Walker and I serve on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council.

You may remember us from standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we continue to fight in court. Our Tribe recently submitted a report to the Army Corps highlighting the dangerous impacts of the pipeline on our people and homeland (there is a link to the report below), and we are preparing for a spill.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has already leaked five times along its route, and our Tribe's report to the Army Corps shows that the current leak detection system can't detect all spills under our water supply. At this time a spill of more than 11,000 barrels per day would go undetected, and would devastate our homeland. The impacts of spills and leaks on our community have not been properly addressed by the Army Corps, and they are unable to address a worst case oil discharge. And so we started a Clean Water Campaign so that we can establish a water safety system, which involves water monitoring systems, training a response team and purchasing equipment for spill response.

You can learn more about the Clean Water Campaign here: www.YouCaring.com/StandingRockCleanWater

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's Report: (https://www.standingrock.org/sites/default/files/uploads/srst_impacts_of_an_oil_spill_2.21.2018.pdf) [Our website is down at this time, but it should be back up in an hour or so hopefully!]

Link to our Facebook/Twitter: https://twitter.com/StandingRockST https://www.facebook.com/Standing-Rock-Sioux-Tribe-402298239798452/

Proof: https://imgur.com/dsblYlo

Q:

Hi, I run a chapter of student engineers who develop clean water, sanitation, and hygiene projects. We are starting a domestic team this year. What can we do you help communities like yours ?

A:

Reaching out directly to the Tribe is your best bet, we'll message you with an email address! Thank you for thinking of us.


Q:

What can the average Redditor do to help not only your people, but all Native Americans?

A:

To support Standing Rock they can donate to our Clean Water Campaign to help us prepare for a oil spill and ensure water safety, and you can continue to reach out to your representatives and advocate for the rights of Standing Rock and other Tribes. There are other Tribes dealing with the same issues today like for example Navajo land has some pipeline issues.


Q:

Was the pipeline ever approved by the tribe?

How could the protests been handled better to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the people protesting themselves?

Do you have a "list of demands" which, if met, would allow you to support the pipeline?

A:

No the pipeline was not approved by our Tribe.

How could it have been handled better is a good question, a lot of the individuals who came out were not prepared for North Dakota winters, a lot of people were thinking they could withstand our winters during the entire protest, that's one piece of why, they could have been better informed and better prepared when coming here to stand with us. People thought they could just wing it, and that couldn't and didn't happen, and the result was that Standing Rock put out dumpsters, but people abandoned their posts and left things behind. I don't know how Standing Rock could have taken better steps, individual the council told people to come prepared.

As for supporting the pipeline, no. The council put their foot down before the pipeline was built, and we still hold the position that we do not want the pipeline threatening our homeland and people's access to clean water.


Q:

What advice can you share for non-Native allies wanting to support your Tribe and others impacted by colonialism? (Huge question I know, sorry)

A:

Standing with those Nations and helping to project their voice is beneficial, this can be done through raising awareness online or being involved in your local communities.


Q:

What other concerns do you have about the pipeline that do not involve leaks? Have there been any form of compensation given to the tribes for the installation of the pipeline?

A:

The process in which they went about obtaining the permits and the lands in which the pipeline had passed through. They go through treaty lands, yet the lands that belong to the people of Standing Rock were never consulted and so it's a form of trespass.

As for compensation, no there has been no compensation.


Q:

Do you feel Standing Rock's message was successful? How so / why not?

And since Standing Rock I have noticed that there has been an increase in native / first nations activism! Do you feel this will continue? If so, where do you hope it ends up?

Edit: one more! Edit2: words

Do you feel that this activism has been beneficial to your youth. I read about the Lakota teens going to DC, do you have hope that they will be heard?

A:

First question: First of all the pipeline happened, the pipeline is laid and there's oil flowing and so in that aspect, no. It wasn't as successful as we would have liked it to be sure, and it was successful in that it brought people together, bringing Tribes and Nations together, bringing members of the Oceti Sakowin together, that we stood in solidarity together against the pipeline, and together for the rights of all Indigenous people.

Second Question: Yes, I don't know if it's been an increase but it's certainly brought a light to it. Social media has been this new avenue to highlight these different activists, it has given a voice to Native communities to stand up against what goes against our values. I do hope it continues, it's our hope that people stand up for human rights.

Third Question: Yes, it has been very beneficial for our youth, it has shown them that their voices are heard at the Tribal and national level. It's amplified their voice and we are very proud of them.


Q:

Could you talk a little about what's gotten you here, how people have been involved, and what there's still to be done? How many people are still in legal limbo due to their actions? Do you feel corporate/government response has been appropriate?

A:

People are still involved through donations that go toward our legal costs and Clean Water Campaign. There is still a long ways to go with litigation, our Tribe just recently submitted our report in response to Judge Boasberg's remand order calling for a more in-depth analysis on the impacts of the pipeline. Also our technical team and water resources department are currently preparing on how to address a leak. We need to establish water monitoring wells and a emergency management plan, that's what our Clean Water Campaign is all about. The threat of a spill lingers and we must be prepared to protect our homeland. As of how many people are still in legal limbo we do not know, that would be a question for the Water Protector Legal Collective and Lakota People's Law Project.

As for the corporate/government response being appropriate, I think it was appropriate until this new administration overstepped laws because for example under the Obama Administration everything he went by was according to the book, he went by the law especially with environmental laws. This administration overlooked those laws to expedite the process for the pipeline.


Q:

My buddy working in the fields wants to know why your protesters physically attacked pipeline workers and fired shots at them in some instances. He also wants to know why they tried to set explosive charges over the pipelines to cause leaks. Any insight?

A:

First off they are not OUR protestors, people came from over the world to support us. We didn't have any say in those individuals who came and acted aggressively, from what I understand these are merely allegations, we don't know what happened. The Tribe has never once allowed, promoted any illegal activity or aggressive violent activity. The Tribe promoted peaceful and prayerful protest, that has always been the agenda of the Tribe, to move in peace.