More than a pipeline
December 2016, Robert and cameraman Lex Olthof went to Standing Rock for 3 days to support and to film. With the aim of making a documentary about the situation there.
There is a group of people who really need urgent support. History is currently being written at the Standing Rock Reserve in North Dakota, America. An international conflict is currently taking place. The so-called Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project is held back by members of the Grand Sioux Nation, supported by over 500 other Native American tribes.
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More about ‘More Than a Pipeline’
Since April 2016 there has been an unresolved conflict in Canon Ball, North Dakota, also known as Standing Rock, the adjacent Sioux reservation. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is being built under the Missouri River on Grand Sioux Nation land. It was put to a temporary halt on 4 December 2016 by the Obama administration, The US Army Corps of Engineers refused the requested permit by Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for the pipeline. Further investigation via a formal Environmental Impact Statement and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes Treaty Rights pertaining to Lake Oahe was required. This decision at the federal level came after months of protest by members of the Grand Sioux Nation, supported by 500 Indian tribes, and in collaboration with large international networks. In January this year President Trump signed executive actions to advance approval of the Dakota Access oil pipeline (as well as the Keystone XL after all. The prayer camps have been removed with military force. The Grand Sioux nation still objects and is now fighting this battle in court.
More than a pipeline
As a documentary film-maker I visited Standing Rock in December 2016 to let the voices of he Sioux be heard, support their cause and to give it global awareness. MORE THAN A PIPELINE is a story about 500 years of suppression of the First Nations and how Standing Rock is basically a next chapter in that story.
PROTECTING HOLY LAND
A few thousand Sioux Indians were standing there (together with members of mostly all of the larger tribes from the US and with other helpers) protesting peacefully against the construction of oil pipe lines through their land. Why? The land is a reservation which is natural reserve, it is their water resource and it is one of the last pieces of their ‘holy ground’. It is well known that the Grand Sioux Nation (a sovereign state according to the Fort Laramie treaty in 1851), as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been in peaceful protest against the DAPL project for several reasons. There are 17 banks in the bank syndicate supporting the project. Their client is Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a Texan company with a 38% interest in DAPL. They stood up to point out the potential dangers of this and other projects as well as the potential damage to the environment, damage to water resources and violation of human rights.
‘I had to go there, I had to do something’
They were facing an overwhelming police force who tried to entrap the peaceful ‘Water protectors’ by using teargas, water cannons and rubber bullets, to provoke them to aggression which would be a reason to arrest them. (It is terrible). The many years of oppressing these people have gone through and are still facing today. Even in the 21st century, while you and I are watching.
NR 1: ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
Investors are funding a loan to an oil pipeline. Many might be aware that there have been countless oil spills and other accidents concerning oil pipelines in the US.
At the time that Bridgeman Foundation was there in December 2016, an oil spill occurred at a pipeline 2,5 hours away from Standing Rock. This link will show you the consequences of the spill. The oil has spread over 7 kilometres away from the site where the spill occurred: click here.
American presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the following during a protest at the White House in September: ‘The pipeline threatens the environment and water resources and exploits Native Americans. It is deeply distressing to me that the federal government is putting the profits of the oil industry ahead of the treaty and sovereign rights of the Native American communities’.
NR 2: VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
You may have seen the images in which peaceful Sioux, men, women, and elders, have been violently dispersed by several government authorities, among others the North Dakota State Troopers, the National Guard and law enforcement agencies from surrounding states. They have used tanks, grenades, tasers, rubber bullets, bats and water cannons. 140 people have been arrested, among those were many elderly people. Investigation to the way these people have been treated is pending.
On December 3rd, a day after the Sioux tribe had taken legal steps, a Private security firm, hired by ETP brought bulldozers to a Sioux burial site. The made a path of 3200 by 45 meters, crossing holy ground. When unarmed Sioux wanted to protest against the disgracing of their ancestors and the desecration of their land, guards used pepper spray and dogs to chase the Sioux away.
At least six people were bitten by dogs and 30 people were pepper sprayed before the guards and dogs left the area in their trucks. The entire incident was filmed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Frost Kennels from Harville, which was hired by ETP, was not authorized to use these dogs in North Dakota. Several security specialists did not approve of using dogs after seeing the images.
NR 3: GENOCIDE
Investors also associate themselves with genocide by funding a loan to ETP. The pipeline crosses or is next to 380 archeological sites of which 26 are adjacent to the current drill site (source: Wikipedia). The statement of the Grand Sioux Nation represented by one of the leaders of the movement, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, is as follows:
‘The U.S Government is wiping out our most important cultural and spiritual areas. And as it erases our footprint from the world, it erases us as people. These sites must be protected, or our world will end, it is that simple. Our young people have a right to know who they are. They have a right to language, to culture, to tradition. The way they learn these things is through connections to our land and history. If we allow an oil company to drill through and destroy our histories, our ancestors, our hearts and souls as people, is that not genocide?’
Thank you all for this amazing labour of love!! Will share it further.
Such a powerful documentary. Thank you
Thank you for making this beautiful documentary and spreading the awareness
Thank you for this document : prayers are unfolding
MORE THAN A PIPELINE
A documentary by Robert Bridgeman & Lex Olthof
More than a pipeline is a documentary film by Dutch director Robert Bridgeman and cameraman Lex Olthof. The film tells the story of the 500 years suppression of the First Nations by the US Government. Filmed from the viewpoint of the Standing Rock movement, and how this is in fact the next chapter in their ongoing fight for Sioux rights.
The film is free of charge.
Director : Robert Bridgeman
Camera / Editing : Lex Olthof
Music : John Akerman Ozgüç
ROBERT BRIDGEMAN (director)
In essence Robert Bridgeman is an inspirer and a “messenger”. A teacher with a mission. Through personal experiences he decided to live his life following his passion: facilitating awareness in others. Robert has made quite a journey to be able to live from passion and devotion. This has been an intense internal and physical journey around the world. He meditated in monasteries for weeks and he spent time with shamans in sweat lodges. Robert is connected to the prestigious “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute” in San Francisco (Mindfulness for businesses), which is the result of a collaboration between Google and Stanford University. Robert has become a specialist in the processes of inner healing, increasing self-awareness, awakening, strengthening spiritual wisdom and manifestation. Robert has written four books and two e-books on awareness and in September 2017 he will publish his fifth book, ‘Transformative coaching’. Through the Bridgeman Academy, Robert, his wife Monique and their team educate Transformation coaches within the Bridgeman method. Next to this, Robert makes documentaries on injustices in the world. He aims to show how we can transform wrongs into new realities of love, wisdom and compassion. Robert’s second documentary is called
LEX OLTHOF (Camera / Editing)
By nature, Lex Olthof is a soulful person with a great passion for designing and creating. At the art academy Lex has studied fashion design and industrial design with photography as a subsidiary subject. Lex has been a fashion designer and an industrial designer at two prestigious Dutch warehouses for which he has travelled a great deal. After twelve years of being a designer, Lex started a family and decided to start his own business in advertising and photography. In 2009, Lex started an additional business, called 1TUBE.nl, in commercial videos, feel-goods, instruction videos and documentaries.
JOHN AKERMAN ÖZGÜÇ (Music)
John Akerman Özgüç has studied neuropsychology. After the release of his first album, Heliosphere, John has been published in Yoga International. He has signed at Yogitunes and he has been invited for an exclusive collaboration between animators and sound designers led by Kirk McNally (engineer of Bryan Adams, REM and Woonam Kim, animator of films like Star Wars).
John’s first soundtrack will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. As Aquinox he has had multiple collaborations with David Berkeley (US), Ben Parker (UK) and Lady Jay (Ghana).
Lewis Grass Rope is one of the headsmen of Kul Wicasa band (Kui chasja oswe).
Faith Spotted Eagle
Faith Spotted Eagle is one of the leaders of the movement. She comes from the Ihanktowan Sioux Nation. She is Chairman of Yankton Sioux Treaty Council, Grandmother, founder of Brave Heart Society and she became the first Native American to receive a vote for president in the electoral college of the United States.
John Bigelow was the head of the Oceti Sakowin media team. In that role he was responsible for PR, press related matters and social media affairs. A huge responsibility in the turmoil of the situation.
One of the first people I spoke to was Danielle Gennety. A Social permaculture activist from Seattle. She was based in Rosebud camp at the other side of the river from Oceti Sakowin and she was there when the first violent attacks started.
Linda Black Elk
In preparation of this mission I was introduced to Linda Black Elk. An ethnobotanist and advisor for the Medic and Healer council. My sources told me she had an important role in the movement and at the camp.
Manape La Mere
In my search for the heart of Oceti Sakowin, I was directed towards The Horn at the center of the camp. The Horn was a half circle of seven tipis where the Headsmen of the seven fires of the Great Sioux Nation resided. I met Manape La Mere, one of the Headsmen of the Mdwankaton band, who was specialized in treaty rights and the old ways of government of the Great Sioux Nation.
Another Water protector, who was able to explain the situation very well, was Laundi Keepseagle, a proud member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, one of the tribes in the Great Sioux Nation. She was closest to the building site and therefore the most directly threatened by the pipeline construction. I met her at the Prairie Knight Casino hotel, a ten-minute drive from Oceti Sakowin camp, where Lex and I were staying. She was one of the operational leaders of the Oceti Sakowin camp.
April 2016 – Set up Standing Rock
August 2016 – First confrontation
October 2016 – Second confrontation
Februari 22nd 2017- Raid Oceti Sakowin Camp by militarized police
Main characters (in order of appearance)
Linda Black Elk
Laundi Germaine Keepseagle
Kunsi Faith Spotted Eagle
Chairman David Archambault II
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
Ché Zen Bruggeman and Luca Bruggeman
Digital Smoke Signals
Mirrors & Hammers
The Young Turks TYT
The Real News
Logo sponsor: LoyaltyMakers
Music, courtesy of Rik Bakker
Aquinox + Wood_Flutes
Special thanks to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council, Steve Sitting Bear, Jodi Gilette, Dean DePountis
4 Worlds team
Michelle Cook, Water protectors legal collective
Rain on the Earth
Dorieke van Helden
Karin Lindeman- Boere
Unsi Rachelle Figueroa
Terri Wilkerson, Oceti Sakowin
Leerentveld Vrijetijd Zwolle, Netherlands
Bridgeman Foundation board