Profit Over Honor
By Carmen Dual
It seems like everything is for sale these days- including the ancestral land of our Native family, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The reservation is home to several sacred sites that are in jeopardy of being destroyed by the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline- a newsworthy topic we’re sure you’ve heard of. If you haven’t, listen up: the proposed 1,172 mile pipeline will enable domestically produced oil to reach refining markets and reduce the use of rail and truck transportation. The United States is the third largest producer of oil in the world while also being the number one consumer. For sure an unsettling ratio, the pipeline serves to offset dependency of foreign imports at the price of destroying tribal burial grounds. A story all too familiar- the uprooting of cultural memory and infiltration of natural resources; the pipeline has potential to contaminate the only water supply available to the reservation.
Adding to the controversy, Federal officials and Dakota Access developers have said they previously reached out to Standing Rock in an attempt to allow them to evaluate the development but the tribe declined to do so- which gave the go ahead to begin construction. Standing Rock says no efforts were made to include the tribe in the plans. These issues were detailed in a lawsuit the tribe filed in July claiming they were never consulted. Currently, the tribe is seeking an injunction- a judicial order restraining continuous threatening action. For the record, the law only gives the tribes the right to have dialog regarding actions made for or against their cultural heritage- not the power to veto.
The North Dakota protest site at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation has grown to become one of the largest gatherings of Native Americans in more than 100 years. Multiple tribes from across the nation have joined together in objection to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. If you would like to participate in the oppostition to cultural land intrusion and to protect the water supply to the Native Americans, you can visit https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-construction-dakota-access-pipeline-which-endangers-water-supply-native-american-reservations
As of now, developers are hoping to have the Dakota Access up and running by January 1st, yet construction has halted amid protests and final permits are still pending. Our thoughts are with our Native people as they fight for their history, future and present all in the same moment.