On November 19th, hundreds marched against the Atlantic Coast pipeline. The pipeline threatens the #Environment. It would carry natural gas from what the settler colonial society calls West Virginia to North Carolina. In truth this land is the traditional territory of several continuously free and independent indigenous peoples and nations. The local settler community appears to acknowledge this as about one hundred marchers representing local indigenous nations led the march. Months earlier, in solidarity with the courageous water protectors opposing the Dakota Access pipeline, they formed the “Coalition of Woodland Indian Nations Against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

Excess pipelines

During a Democracy Now! Interview Winona LaDuke (Ojibwe) of Honor the Earth correctly characterized Dakota Access as the Dakota “Excess” pipeline considering the numerous oil pipelines already scarring the flesh of Our Mother Earth. The same excesses can be said for the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline. The proposed 600 mile natural gas pipeline would be owned by a company aptly named "Dominion." Many opponents have already pointed out that the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure is sufficient. The Atlantic Coast pipeline route would end at the traditional indigenous community of Prospect. This threatens the the history and culture of the North Carolina Tuscarora who have already suffered the effects of #Climate Change.

The Tuscarora nation in North Carolina

Despite assertions to the contrary; half the Tuscarora nation stayed in North Carolina after the Tuscarora War (1711-1713). The British recognized their territory and established the Indian Woods Reservation in 1716. Through treachery European settlers encroached on these lands forcing many to flee. Some went north to join with those that had earlier joined with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy of nations. Others remained in the reservation area despite their lands being illegally overrun. Another group moved to what is today Robeson County. Despite efforts to assimilate them into white culture, they preserved their traditional culture. Prospect is of great significance in this history.

The significance of Prospect

In the 1950s Tuscarora Faith Keeper Wallace “Mad Bear” Anderson visited the Tuscarora community of Prospect with a delegation of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Chiefs. Mad Bear helped to establish the traditional longhouse at Prospect so that the Tuscaroras that remained in North Carolina could reconnect with their traditional spirituality. Local tradition says Mad Bear intended to take wampums (strings or belts of shell beads used for political discourse) to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy on behalf of the Tuscaroras remaining in North Carolina. This lesser known history is overshadowed by Mad Bear's better known role as the traditional healer for Richard Oakes (Mohawk), one of the leaders of the 1969 indigenous reclamation of Alcatraz Island. Nevertheless, Mad Bear recognized the importance of Prospect, and now a pipeline threatens this history.

Water protectors of the east

The pipeline is presently under review by the Federal Energy Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and is not scheduled for construction until Fall 2017. The water protectors of the east assert that they wanted to start their march well in advance. Many recognize that, just as Dakota Access was rerouted from predominantly white Bismarck to Standing Rock, the reason ACPL is being built in this region is that it is the poorest part of the state. Many fear contamination of their water from natural gas fracking. Some even used the “water is life” slogan of Standing Rock. In a move refreshingly different from the vicious #Police Brutality faced at Standing Rock, the local “Redrum Motorcycle Club” participated with local law enforcement to safely escort the marchers. Please stand with the Coalition of Woodland Nations against the Atlantic Coast pipeline.