Donald Trump has expressed his support for the completion of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux, representatives from more than 200 indigenous nations from across the Americas and thousands of non-Native allies. In a communications briefing, Trump’s transition team said his support for the pipeline “has nothing to do with his personal investments.” As of 2015, Trump had between $500,000 and $1 million invested in the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, although Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks recently claimed Trump has sold off his shares in the company. This comes as North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple continues to back away from attempts to force water protectors to leave the main resistance camp, now saying authorities will not stop and fine people carrying supplies to the site. The governor says his recent executive order declaring the land an evacuation area sought only to warn people about the cold. In response, the Standing Rock Sioux said, “The Governor of North Dakota and Sheriff of Morton County are relative newcomers [here]. It is understandable they would be concerned about severe winter weather.” The first of a group of as many as 2,000 veterans have begun to arrive at Standing Rock in North Dakota, where they say they’ll serve to form a “human shield” around the water protectors to protect them from the increasingly violent police crackdown.
Minneapolis: Protesters Lock Down to Demand Wells Fargo Divest from Dakota Access Pipeline
Meanwhile, protesters gathered in dozens of cities across the world Thursday in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, including in Tokyo, London, Vancouver, Calgary and cities across the U.S. In Minneapolis, six protesters locked themselves to each other inside a Wells Fargo office building, blocking the elevators for hours. They left only after receiving a letter saying Wells Fargo would meet with tribal elders before January 1 to hear their concerns about the bank’s investments in the pipeline.
Canada: Mohawks Blockade Oil Freight Trains from Crossing Their Land
In Canada, members of the Mohawk Nation have begun blockading freight trains carrying oil by rail from crossing their territory, which lies along the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. They say the blockade is in solidarity with Standing Rock.
Chippewas Sue Canadian Supreme Court over Enbridge Pipeline
Meanwhile, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation have sued the Canadian government in Canada’s Supreme Court in order to challenge the permitting process for Enbridge’s Line 9 tar sands pipeline, saying their treaty rights to consultation were not met before the pipeline was approved. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Chippewas, it could set a precedent requiring formal nation-to-nation consultations between the Canadian government and First Nations for all future energy projects that would affect Native land.