by Matthew Kennedy
Only months ago, highly explosive crude oil began to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), or the Black Snake, as it was named by the Indigenous and allied activists at Standing Rock who organized massive opposition to its construction. The pipeline has since then leaked five times along its route. Proposals for dangerous new fossil fuel projects will continue to multiply, per the extremist deregulatory agenda of the Trump administration. But the fierce struggle for Lakota & Dakota territorial sovereignty (and rights for all Indigenous peoples, more broadly), together with the persistent legal confrontation of DAPL and the U.S. government, have left a formidable legacy for the coming years.
One of many testaments to this legacy is a “floating pipeline resistance camp” which has formed “in the swamps of Houma, Chitimacha, and Chata territory” in southern Louisiana to halt the expansion of a related Energy Transfer Partners scheme: the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP). The BPP is the southernmost leg of DAPL. A new stretch of the BBP would carry fracked Bakken crude via Nederland, TX and Lake Charles, LA to terminals in St. James, LA. Anti-pipeline organizers, coming together in June of last year, have named their camp, L’eau Est La Vie, a cajun variation on the Water Protectors’ Lakota, mni wiconi, or “water is life.” An inaugural announcement from the Indigenous Environmental Network read: