Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is probably someplace you have never heard about. The real problem with that fact is that there is a fight going on at the reservation. The Sioux Tribe there is protesting the building of a pipeline.
The pipeline is due to carry shale oil from North Dakota to Illinois where it will link up with another pipeline to take it to the Gulf Coast and the refineries there.
However, the route of the pipeline goes through some of the Tribe’s sacred sites and ancient burial sites. It will also cross several streams and cross underneath the Missouri River.
The drinking water for most of the Reservation comes from the Missouri River as well as the drinking water for millions of people downriver. The Tribe is suing to stop the pipeline’s route through their sacred sites and under the Missouri River.
A judge in Federal Court ruled that the construction must top at least until today when he will issue a ruling if the project should be stopped until the suit plays out in court.
The Protest on the Plains as it is being called has a “peace camp” set up at the construction site. The protest has had some violence during its time for the last few months. Local media have complained that the Tribe has “attacked” construction workers to stop their work. The Tribe says that is untrue and it is the company that has attacked them.
It is a fact that the company, Energy Transfer Partners, has hired a private security company that is using attack dogs at the site. It has been reported that the dogs have attacked Tribe members including children. One picture showed one of the dogs with blood on its mouth.
The situation has grown to the point that the Governor of North Dakota has called out the National Guard. These troops are supposed to help with “roadblocks” leading into the area.
Of course, the Governor has said that the pipeline is safe and poses no environmental threat to the Reservation. Yet, the original route for the pipeline was supposed to go near Bismark, ND and not cross the Tribe’s area.
It was changed because the Governor said he was concerned about possible pollution for the drinking water of the state capital. Once the route was changed to include the Reservation, the pipeline suddenly became safe and does not pose an environmental threat.
I don’t know what else to say, except this is another example of the racist practices of leadership towards our Native American brothers and sisters. How can anyone justify that there is nothing more to this. This is a case where the leader of a state had an oil pipeline moved because it “might affect” him and then says there are no threats when it is moved to Native American land.
To Native Americans water is not just something that is used to drink, wash, or cook in. It is sacred. They understand that water is the most essential element for survival. They understand our connection with our other Mother Earth.
Additionally, what gives anyone the right to destroy ancient burial sites of Native Americans? What kind of outcry would there be if we bulldozed through an early American cemetery like “Boot Hill”?
These protests are not limited to the Tribe in North Dakota either. Protests are expanding in Iowa as well. Their drinking water is also being threatened. Plus, they are complaining about the use of eminent domain to take property from private citizens for the pipeline.
I understand the need to transport oil to refineries. I understand that until our government has the fortitude to replace our dependence on oil and coal to clean and renewable energy this is necessary.
However, please tell me that there is not other course for the pipeline that will not threaten drinking water. Tell me there is no other way to transport the oil more safely. Please tell me how it is safe to go through Native American lands and not the governor’s backyard.
We have allowed the oil companies to run roughshod over us for long enough. It is time we learn to appreciate our Native American brethren. If you take some time to learn about their way of life, you will be amazed how wonderful it really is.
Water is life. Water is sacred. When our scientists look for life on distant planets, the first thing they look for is water. Without water there is no life. Too much of our precious water has been contaminated by these oil companies.
The biggest argument about the Fracking Industry is that they contaminate ground water in their operations. To show you how much our governments are in their pockets, if they contaminate the well on one property, that person, by law, cannot tell their neighbor about the contamination. Nor is the fracking company required to tell you either.
I support the Tribe at Standing Rock. I hope you also support them. But, support is not just thinking you do, it is speaking out in favor of their protest. We have often heard Republicans say we must “take our country back”. In a sense they are right. We must take our country back from the oil companies.
Here is hoping today’s ruling will shutdown construction until the law suit is settled and that the law suit goes in favor of the Tribe.