After the camp disbanded on Thursday, Mississippi Stand activists gathered by the river for prayers and songs. — photo by Eleanore Taft
Activists camping near Montrose, Iowa to protest the Bakken Pipeline packed up camp Thursday after being served eviction papers. The eviction hasn’t stopped the action at the site, known as Mississippi Stand, with more arrests taking place Friday and over the weekend. The site is near construction on the pipeline’s route under the Mississippi River, most of which has already been bored.
Several people were arrested Friday and construction was temporarily halted after activists put locking devices on the drill that has been boring the path beneath the Mississippi. More arrests took place Saturday after protesters blocked the road to the construction site and an activist locked herself to an axle under a vacuum truck (used to remove mud and debris from drilling), which also led to a temporary pause in construction.
The Mississippi Stand camp began with Jessica Reznicek, an activist who has been arrested multiple times for interfering with pipeline construction. Reznicek was due to appear in court Oct. 5, but instead of going to the courthouse, she blockaded the entrance to the construction site with her body and a stack of tires. She was arrested, and released from jail Thursday morning.
Georgianne Perret, of Iowa City, has been coming to the Mississippi Stand camp for the past four weeks. She has been arrested twice and took part in the direct action at the Mississippi Stand site which led to 30 arrests Saturday, Oct. 1, when activists pulled down a fence and occupied a construction site.
“I climbed the fence last week, now there’s a second fence with barbed wire. I wish we’d all climbed the fence at the same time,” she said. “Maybe somebody would have made it to the drill going under the Mississippi.”
Standing Rock stands with Iowans
Representatives from the camp at Standing Rock in North Dakota were visiting the Mississippi Stand site Thursday when camp was packed up. Standing by the banks of the Mississippi River, Changes Wind Boy, who resides at Standing Rock, expressed concern about the durability of the pipeline and the impact of any future leaks.
Kylo Prince, of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba, Canada, currently lives in Winnipeg and was traveling with representatives from Standing Rock to spread the word about the pipeline. Prince said that Thursday’s eviction was peaceful, that campers packed up and law enforcement did not have to get involved, although they were present throughout the day. He did express concern about seeing a pickup truck full of dog cages pass by the site, because dogs had been used to intimidate pipeline resistors at Standing Rock.
Prince said that he is worried about the future scarcity of water resources leading to conflict, and that water is already expensive.
“My elders have been saying for some time that the next wars are gonna be fought over water,” Prince said.
Prayers for a change of heart
During Thursday’s prayers, multiple speakers expressed sympathy and compassion for the pipeline construction workers, and hope that they would decide that a job with Dakota Access wasn’t worth the cost.
“I understand that they have jobs, they have families to support, I get that. But when their great-grandchildren look around and see how contaminated they allowed the water to become?” Changes Wind Boy said, shaking his head. “Why aren’t the generations that have to deal with these infectious pollutions being considered?”