Indigenous peoples and environmental activists scored a huge victory last December when they pressured former President Barack Obama’s administration to bring construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to a temporary halt.
But now with Donald Trump as President, many are saying the fight is just beginning.
teleSUR spoke to water protectors at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation who reflected on the political uncertainty of their movement.
“I believe that Donald Trump will approve the easement to allow Dakota Access to drill under the Missouri river,” said Catawba Water Protector Linda Black Elk.
“That's why it's more important than ever that we stay and we stand and we prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from going through.”
While Trump has not made any announcements about whether he will allow energy companies to continue drilling there, signs are pointing in the direction of him lifting the temporary halt.
Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) told radio talk show host Rob Port that granting permission for the pipeline to cross the reservation is imminent. Cramer added that the halt could be lifted as early as Monday.
Then there’s Trump’s cabinet pick for Energy Secretary: Rick Perry, a former board member of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the DAPL. Perry, a notorious conservative, has expressed support for environmental deregulation of corporate drillings led by the private sector.
He’s gone as far as saying the U.S. Department of Energy “should not compromise economic growth.”
These are just a few of the hints that point to Trump’s plans to ramp up attacks on Standing Rock.
“Trump, he's a businessman, he ain't no president. He knows how to build businesses,” said Ron, another water protector at the reservation.
While water protectors at Standing Rock are sober-minded about the renewed threat Trump’s presidency presents, many believe these threats will intensify their movement.
“We're going to constantly be up against politics, so Trump is just another one, although he's just a little crazier,” Lakota Elder Madonna Thunder Hawk.