In New York, more than 150 people assembled in a flash mob at a Syracuse shopping mall. In Nevada, a pickup truck plowed through a crowd of mostly American Indian demonstrators in downtown Reno.

And in North Dakota, Minnesota and two other states, activists face charges of tampering with valves on five pipelines carrying Canadian crude oil into the United States, leading to several arrests.

All three instances last week involved people showing solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. What started as a handful of self-described “water protectors” camping at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers in April continues to attract worldwide attention and inspire protest actions, resolutions and other shows of support.

Those directly involved, as well as academics observing from afar, see a number of reasons why this particular pipeline controversy has resonated so loudly and drawn such impassioned response.

For Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II, plans by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners to run the four-state pipeline through the tribe’s unceded 1800s treaty land and under Lake Oahe – a reservoir that provides the tribe’s drinking water and was created in 1960 by flooding the fertile Missouri River bottomlands without the tribe’s consent – is relatable to indigenous peoples worldwide struggling to protect their own resources.

More than 300 tribal nations from around the world have written letters of support for Standing Rock, and most of those have sent members to stake their flag at the main protest camp just across the Cannonball River from the Standing Rock reservation, Archambault said.

“We’re trying to protect it, and water is one of the most important things to life. It is the most important thing. It is life. It’s a simple concept to support, to stand behind,” he said.

Walter Fleming, a professor and head of the Department of Native American Studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, describes it as an “exercise in sovereignty.” While the pipeline route avoids current tribal lands, it crosses historical tribal lands the Lakota feel they never gave up.

Women in UK standing in solidarity

“Indigenous peoples worldwide being somewhat subject to colonization … this is an issue that people can respond to,” he said.

“It might not resonate in terms of just tribal sovereignty issues. It’s taken on a more general kind of air of concern,” Fleming said. “And so non-Indian allies, they’re finding a place to join in those concerns.”

Moya said the indigenous rights movement “Idle No More” that began in North America has spread all over the world, including Sweden. She noted the indigenous Sami people of far northern Sweden, Norway and Finland are among those represented at the camp in southern Morton County that has been called the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than century.

“It is considered shameful from a Swedish or European perspective that Native people are having to nonviolently fight off the U.S. government to protect their survival, their ancestral lands and their water,” she said.

"Stand with Standing Rock," with love, from London.

Boston says NO to Dakota Access pipeline!

Members of Green Cross Sweden pose for a photo that was posted to Facebook in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photo provided by Green Cross Sweden Executive Director Tonia Moya

Paris France

Dakota pipeline protesters face members of the North Dakota State Patrol at the capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota.

New Zealand

Indigenous Sami people from Norway

Mexica: Juan Flores a traditional Aztec dancer looks on during a rally


Australia Indigenous people



Responses to "Solidarity With Standing Rock Makes Ripples Nationally, Worldwide "

  1. from the UK - What can individuals do worldwide to affect the profits of the backers of DAPL? Public opinion is not enough - 2 million ordinary people protested in London the decision to attack Iraq, a decision now known to be based on lies. They didn't care about public opinion, they were happy to go to war and rigged the official enquiry so that blame was unapportionable. Our current government would care even less and they certainly will do nothing to upset Washington so is there anything we can do to hurt these companies that put profit before life? reports that ETP have been told again to cease activity but they currently are using water cannon to soak the protesters in sub-freezing conditions - inhuman. They also report that Norwegian bank DNB said it might withdraw its $342 million loan to ETP, about 10 percent of the entire project's funding. Please publish a list of all international companies/banks that can be hurt by each and every one of us taking our business elsewhere.

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