Dakota Pipeline is hundreds of kilometers away from Philadelphia, but citizens of our city are angry too. With protests going back farther than Thanksgiving Day, when protesters held a vigil, there seem to be no plans to stop public pressure. By declaring Thanksgiving a “National Day of Mourning,” the holiday we usually highlight as a time when Native Americans and the pilgrims came together and made piece, the organizers of the group highlight the day as “A day of remembrance of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture,” as the organizers described it on Facebook. The protest on Thanksgiving took place just days before the statement from the Army Corps denying the easement, with about 60 demonstrators or so lined up on 16th St. near the Thanksgiving celebration parade route.
The organizers of local Philadelphia protests are a part of the Philly with Standing Rock - Sioux Defenders group that is described as, “A coalition of Native and non-Natives in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Defenders to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
The organizers of local Philadelphia protests are a part of the Philly with Standing Rock - Sioux Defenders group that is described as, “A coalition of Native and non-Natives in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Defenders to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Even with the recent statement released by the Army Corps that they would not grant the easement, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco released a statement to their lenders and stakeholders that they would continue to pursue the pipeline. Protesters and those in support of the Sioux and water defenders are determined to continue the protests and public pressure as a result, to prevent future construction. “Everybody was jubilant yesterday when they heard the Army Corps was stopping it. But then today a company is filing a lawsuit against the Army Corps claiming it’s their property and they get to do what they want. And you have state politicians out there who are also pressuring the Army Corps. It’s like winning the battle but not winning the war,” said Betsey Pitte, a protester. “But what we’re going to have to see in the coming months, in the coming weeks is that if the ETP [Energy Transfer Partners] continues construction is the Army Corps going to enforce what they said? Are they going to come in with the law enforcement they did against the water protectors, except this time enforcing that they didn’t grant this easement,” said Chad Lauren, 28, an organizer of the protest.”If we continue this pressure, especially given this weak moment, for the pipeline company, I think the hope is that we can make the financial footing really insecure for them,” Lauren said. And while those in Philadelphia refuse to relent until the pipeline project is completely canceled, many believe it is because the project means something to not only those in North Dakota but around the world seeing similarities in the project to that of Palestine, and even Flint Michigan. “My friend who is out there is Palestinian and one of the reasons she wanted to go there is because for her, the struggle in Palestine is an indigenous struggle. It’s very similar. It’s important to make a stand for our communities,” said Betsey Pitte, a protester.