Native Americans Defending Water
Have you seen and heard about the growing protest in North Dakota over the Dakota Access Pipeline? Canadian oil giant Enbridge is plowing through native American land in the United States to enrich its shareholders. The standoff has reached a boiling point and it has exposed a dangerous crack in our great nation.
The Missouri River provides clean drinking water to millions of people in the region. Now, a petroleum pipeline, called the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being built, threatening the river. A movement has grown to block the pipeline, led by Native American tribes that have lived along the banks of the Missouri for centuries.
Standing Rock Sioux set up the first resistance encampment about 50 miles south of Bismarck, North Dakota in April, calling it Sacred Stone.
Now there are four camps with more than 1,000 people, mostly from Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada. “Water is Life” is the mantra of this nonviolent struggle against the pipeline that is being built to carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois.
Last Saturday, as they attempted to face down massive bulldozers on their ancient burial sites, the pipeline security guards attacked the mostly Native American protectors with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction, fighting for clean water, protection of sacred ground and an end to our fossil-fuel economy.
Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day. That afternoon, delegations walked down the road to plant their tribal flags in the path of the proposed pipeline. They found large bulldozers actively carving up the land on Labor Day weekend.
Hundreds of people, mostly Native Americans, lined the route, yelling for the destruction to stop. The bulldozers retreated, but the security guards attempted to repel the land defenders, unleashing at least half a dozen vicious dogs, who bit both people and horses. One dog had blood dripping from its mouth and nose. Undeterred, the dog’s handler continued to push the dog into the crowd. The guards pepper-sprayed the protesters, punched and tackled them. Vicious dogs like mastiffs have been used to attack indigenous peoples in the Americas since the time of Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors who followed him. In the end, the violent Dakota Access guards were forced back.
This section of the pipeline path contained archeological sites, including Lakota/Dakota burial grounds.
The tribe had supplied the locations of the sites in a court filing just the day before, seeking a temporary halt to construction to fully investigate them. With those locations in hand, the Dakota Access Pipeline crew literally plowed ahead. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault told us on the “Democracy Now!” newshour: “They were using the dogs as a deadly weapon. … They knew something was going to happen when they leapfrogged over 15 miles of undisturbed land to destroy our sacred sites … they were prepared. They hired a company that had guard dogs, and then they came in, and then they waited. And it was —by the time we saw what was going on, it was too late. Everything was destroyed. They desecrated our ancestral gravesites. They just destroyed prayer sites.”
The battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is being waged as a renewed assertion of indigenous rights and sovereignty, as a fight to protect clean water, but, most importantly, as part of the global struggle to combat climate change and break from dependence on fossil fuels. At the Sacred Stone, Red Warrior and other camps at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, the protectors are there to stay, and their numbers are growing daily. Watch this great video commentary.
Editorial Note: The profits of foreign corporations are now more important to the U.S. government than the lives of homeland defenders? Thanks to corruption and fascism, the U.S. is one crisis away from bankruptcy and suspension of the constitution (including the second amendment, social security and more). Meanwhile, the political discussion is all about walls, emails and other non-issues. The playbook is in place. It will continue to be executed by candidate A or B. It’s called the “Shock Doctrine.” It assures that our great nation is gutted and bled to death by traitors. It’s a new path to enrichment for the unscrupulous–those who would betray their mother for the devil. Down is the new up.
Great nations don’t kill innocent, unarmed citizens. They don’t attack homeland defenders. They don’t bail out banks that prey on taxpayers. They don’t poison entire communities with drinking water. They don’t poison food and water with sewage sludge. Great nations don’t lie to military recruits and then abandon those who are lucky enough to survive the perils of war–our veterans. We are being led to slaughter by the best crisis coordinators that money can buy. Nations are now overthrown with bankruptcy, not bombs and bullets.
Great citizens are what make great nations. Great citizens defend each other and their nation. They don’t wilt in the face of fascists who masquerade as patriots. These brave warriors in the Dakotas have their priorities straight. Water is more important than oil. Citizen engagement and inclusion are part of a healthy democracy. Anything less represents the slippery slope of fascism, which President Eisenhower warned us about when he left office. Citizenship isn’t a spectator sport. We must remember that our forefathers founded this country based on suspicion of bad government. They established the separation of powers, the bill of rights and more to protect citizens from the potential abuse of government. That’s where the second amendment was born. We owe our forefathers diligence and active engagement. We owe the same and more to our fallen, our veterans, our communities, our nation and ourselves. It’s up to citizens to hold public servants accountable.
If you think that this election will change anything, think again. Better yet, read the “Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein. Civil disobedience is part of free speech, free-market capitalism and a free democracy. Civil disobedience is rarely glorious, but it is essential to free people and free markets. Therefore, I salute all of our brave soldiers as patriots. I salute all public servants who are representing the people fairly and honestly. I salute all patriots who speak out, stand up, sit down or do whatever they can to draw attention to the cancer that threatens the health and sustainability of this great nation and this beautiful planet. The protectors of our water are heroes. Colin Kaepernick is a hero. He isn’t disrespecting anyone. He’s demanding respect for everyone. He is defending this nation in the best way that he can. Waving flags and singing songs can’t (and should not be allowed to) whitewash the assault on this great nation by forces that place greed, fear and hate above patriotism.
The proof is in the pudding. Foreign corporations have more rights in America now than U.S. citizens. We can still make America great again. Be the change.