The month of September has seen a bitter clash between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and Energy Transfer Partners over a proposed pipeline that will stretch through the tribe’s reservation grounds in North Dakota.
The project known as the Dakota Access Pipeline was proposed to reach over a 1,172-mile stretch through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. This pipeline would replace truck and rail transportation for crude oil in these areas.
When presented with this information, the pipeline appears relatively harmless. Energy Transfer Partners forgot to mention on their website for the DAPL that the pipeline will stretch through Standing Rock Sioux territory. These same areas are used by the Sioux people for drinking water, and upon the pipeline’s completion, it runs the risk of contaminating that water supply any time a leak emerges.
Keep in mind that this is a private company originating in the United States of America, encroaching on lands belonging to and sacred to an indigenous people who have consistently been marginalized, extorted, and cheated out of land since Christopher Columbus first touched down on an East Coast beach.
Following a federal judge denying the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request to halt construction on reservation territory,however, three separate federal agencies have stepped in and formally requested that Energy Transfer Partners voluntarily cease work on the pipeline to reconsider previous permits for construction.
Needless to say, it should be a no-brainer that a company who pepper-sprays and releases attack dogs on people protesting the right to their own territory, is overstepping boundaries.
The Standing Rock Sioux people have maintained a consistently peaceful protest throughout their campaign. With the slogan “Water is Life.” Energy Transfer Partners’ response was violence.
The Standing Rock Sioux have demonstrated just how committed they are to their cause, as even in the face of bulldozers plowing through the sacred burial grounds of their ancestors, they have maintained a peaceful approach.
Native Americans have endured so much hardship at the hands of many of our ancestors, and in present times they still fight an uphill battle. It’s 2016, and within the borders of our country, there are still people who have to fight for clean, safe water.
We must show support for those Native Americans we have worked so hard to make amends with. We at the Washburn Review recognize “Water is Life.”