One of the first Lakota women on Standing Rock to organize resistance to Dakota Access Pipeline, Josephine (last name withheld) pictured here with her husband Remy (far left) and two allies who camped with her at Standing Rock up to the day of eviction on February 23rd – is among the leaders at the ongoing Water Protectors camp in Eagle Butte, SD – where Keystone XL is in the beginning stages of permitting right of way for its planned pipeline.
Josephine called a meeting back in October of 2015 at the movie theater in Cannonball ( they had the keys ) when a friend brought back reams of documents outlining Energy Transfer Partners plans to build DAPL under the Missouri River, threatening the Lakota’s treaty guaranteed water rights, as well as traversing sacred burial grounds.
She says Indian Reorganization Act Tribal Chairman Dave Archimbault knew about the pipeline early on but had been bought off by the Energy Transfer Partners; in any case he did nothing to alert the people to the pipeline and his opposition came late and lukewarm after people like Josephine had already taken action, set up resistance camps, and sent out the call on social media for allies to come from around Lakota Country and around the world.
“We worked with the youth, we worked with the elders, the horseback riders, the motorcycle riders, we worked with anyone who would listen to us,” said Josephine.
They held the first anti pipeline rally in March of last year, from Cannonball to Fort Yates. Then the youth set up camp in April to block the pipeline, and others slowly began to join them. But when the construction equipment and operators showed up on July, “That’s when it really blew up!”
She guessed at least 20,000 people were present at the camps blocking the pipeline at the height of the movement.” Prayer, unity, compassion, that is what Standing Rock was all about.
Prayer, unity, compassion – without that what do we have? The world will become a graveyard.”
The Water Protectors moved camp here to Eagle Butte at the end of February due to the outspoken and ongoing support of IRA tribal chairman Harold Frazier ( now made chief of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation – first time in a century, said Josephine, the any Lakota tribal chairman elected under Bureau of Indian Affairs majority rules has also been chosen traditional chief) and his opposition to the pipelines which are surrounding the geographic bounds of Lakota lands, threatening water supplies.
Meanwhile, Esquire reports yesterday that the Ponca, Winnebago, Omaha and Santee Sioux tribes met this week in Lincoln, NE to sign a Treaty of their own opposing Keystone XL pipeline – in a move to formalize the growing alliance between Native Nations, environmentalists, and ranchers here on the Great Plains.
Omaha chairman Mike Wolfe told white supporters (as quoted by Charles Pierce ) “You are the Indians now. You’re having this thing shoved down your throats.”
Pictured second from left, an anti- pipeline activists from Michigan. Far right, Andy Haiden, from Vergas, Minnesota came out to feed the resistance camps at Thanksgiving last year at Standing Rock with grass fed meat and organic veggies from his farm – and stayed thru Feb.
He talked of the corporate chemical agriculture lock on food production as another aspect of the war on the health of the Earth and her peoples.
“Planting a garden is the biggest protest you can do,” he said, before an emotional fair well to Josephine and Remy.


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