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Martha Tommie reflects on Standing Rock DAPL decision

Back in 2016, Martha Tommie and other Tribal members drove thousands of miles to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they fought against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on their ancestral tribal land.

Unfortunately the efforts of thousands of Native American protestors, or water protectors, at the Cannonball, North Dakota site did not halt construction.

Standing Rock protest camp Dec. 2016. (Native News Online)

The pipeline was built and now crosses the Standing Rock Sioux’s primary source of water, the Missouri River.

The tribe sued in federal court and on March 25, the court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not doing an adequate job studying the risks of a spill in the pipeline.

The ruling was a clear win for the Standing Rock Sioux.

When Tommie heard the news, she cried.

“I woke up this morning and saw the decision,” Tommie said. “Oh my goodness, what a blessing. I was so proud to go and protest; I wasn’t scared I just did it because water is life. God saw humans on this earth fighting for water and I thought God, you are awesome.”

Tommie reflected on her days spent protesting in North Dakota.

“We sent powerful prayers no matter what was thrown at us, rubber bullets and hypothermia,” she said. “We kept singing. It’s a big miracle for us to see the Standing Rock Sioux tribe keep fighting for what’s right. This is our water; everything needs water. How will we continue to make medicine if we don’t have good water? The whole world needs water.”

Hearing all the Native languages, the flags and medicine colors together has had an impact on her life.

“I’m proud of the water protectors, we never gave up,” Tommie said. “This is my testimony of how I’m happy to see the Standing Rock Sioux get this huge victory. I still stand with you all in my humble powerful prayers.”

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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