The Standing Rock Sioux have suffered awful abuse in their fight to save their land from certain demise, at the hands of the environmentally destructive fossil fuel industry. The North Dakota Cheyenne River Sioux have been hit by law enforcement with flash grenades, rubber bullets, attack dogs and water cannons, in sub-zero temperatures. This incredibly heart-wrenching fight has been finally given the much-needed attention it so deserves, but is it too little, too late?
They are fighting for the paltry amount of land and natural resources that have been appallingly siphoned off by the U.S. Government for centuries. The Sioux tribe knows full well that the Trump Administration isn't going to help their fortunes. It's public knowledge that the Führer-Elect has a personal financial stake in the DAPL, in both Phillips 66 and Energy Transfer Partners.
The Monday deadline quickly approaches for these steadfast opponents of the pipeline or as they prefer, "water protectors" to clear out their camps, desperately trying to stop the decimation of their lands. AG Loretta Lynch's office is sending mediators to North Dakota to try to work out a peaceful resolution.
NBC Reporter Cal Perry and the organizer of the Cheyenne River Sioux, Chas Jewett, spoke with Joy Reid from the protest site in very chilly North Dakota. Jewett talks about the imminent arrival of 2,000 U.S. Veterans to stand in solidarity with the protesters.
JEWETT: I think that we're here for a reason. We're here because we're united in prayer and I think the veterans are coming in to help support that in a peaceful way. We've been peaceful and patient and prayerful this whole time, under direction from the chairman and everyone else. That's our agenda. We want to just convince the hearts and minds of folks that veterans are here to help us with that.
Joy asked Chas how she feels about the Obama Administration's response thus far.
JEWETT: I think there's a lot more that the Obama Administration could do. I think they could scrap the whole permit right now, as it is, and have them reapply. That would be an excellent way for them to help.
I'm here as a tribal person and for what I said just now, that we've been saying "no" to these projects since time began, and no one is ever hearing our voice and now, for whatever reason, our "no" got amplified by the other organizations coming to support us. We've been saying "no" to these things and saying "no" to climate destruction. We're saying "yes" to our future and we're getting bombarded by rubber bullets because we want a future for our country? Come on, it's 2016.
Reid asks her what she expects from Obama's people and then from the Trump-Pence administration, given the fact that they've done nothing to encourage environmental protection. It's embarrassing for our country that only Republicans deny the science of man-made climate change. Of course they do. It's more profitable.
JEWETT: Well, it doesn't really feel like we've had an administration that's been listening to us now. I don't think things are going to change. The head of the snake has changed, maybe or what have you, but we've been out here for months and we haven't had any help from this administration, right now. I mean, literally, our people are being attacked by dogs and no one is helping us because we want water. I mean, fresh water. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it. I don't think that the incoming administration is going to be any more helpful than the one right now.
Neither do we, Chas. I hope Monday doesn't resemble the rest of 2016 and the Standing Rock protesters are successful in their efforts to curtail the decimation of their sacred land.