From: Brian G. Mueller
President, Winona Dakota Unity Alliance
It has been three years since Native water protectors from all over the world stood strong at Standing Rock to protect us all from oil spills and other threats posed by oil pipelines. What has happened in those three years?
Oil is leaking from every pipeline. Two major oil spills from the Keystone pipeline through North and South Dakota released over 800,000 barrels of oil into the ecosystem, which feeds the Missouri-Mississippi River Watershed, the largest freshwater system in the United States. Water Protectors warned us, and we did not listen.
It is now more criminal to protest a pipeline than it is to own one that leaks or explodes. Several states, including Wisconsin, have made it a felony to trespass on lands owned by oil pipeline companies. Yet, those companies face almost zero accountability for the extensive damages, injuries, and fatalities that have occurred due to oil spills and pipeline explosions over the years. Water Protectors tried to protect us, but we refused their protection.
Several Water Protectors still remain incarcerated for participating in a non-violent act of resistance and protection. Meanwhile, none of the militarized law enforcement or private security forces protecting corporate interests have been held accountable for their violent tactics. Water Protectors stood up for us, and we incarcerated them.
We need to listen. We need to learn. We need to change.
How can you help?
Divest from banks that fund oil pipelines, including Wells Fargo and Chase.
Support our own divestment efforts here in Winona by urging your council members to divest from Wells Fargo and research financing options that better reflect the values of our community.
Find ways to minimize your own consumption of fossil fuels whenever you can.
Spread the message that water is life!
Pidamaya (thank you, in the Dakota language).