At first glance, the Dakota Access Pipeline may not seem so bad. The website for the obscene project boasts of the new jobs that the building of the pipeline will create, the "greater energy independence for the United States," and how the number one priority of those running the project is to make sure landowners are happy and the environment is restored. What problem could anyone have with such a great project? Well, ask the native tribes being affected in less-than-positive ways.
For the most part, I hadn't heard much about the DAPL in the news so I most definitely didn't hear about the social injustice resulting from it. It wasn't until someone reached out to me to write about these injustices that I really looked into it. After seeing what I've been missing, I am appalled to say the least.
The purpose of the pipeline is to transport crude oil underground from North Dakota to Illinois. The more obvious concern with such a long underground pipeline is the possible leaks. The original route for the pipeline was changed because the fear of the impact of the drinking water for the people of Bismarck. Now, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is in danger and nobody seems to care.
Putting the tribe's drinking water at risk is putting the people, as a whole, at risk. Without clean water the native vegetation that grows along the banks will be killed and the environment will be completely disrupted. To the Sioux, this water is sacred. The land which the pipeline will invade includes sacred burial sites and holds "very rich cultural history," says the Tribal archaeologist, Kelly Morgan.
If there had been a sacred church in the path of the pipeline, the framers of the line would have found a way around it. Our American government is essentially passing judgment on this land as unimportant or not sacred. But it is sacred, sacred to the Native American people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. This judgment is what natives and non-natives are banding together to protest. They have even put together a 500-mile run to unify against the DAPL project.
Although this run has already passed, there are other ways that you can support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their battle with the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. The tribe has made a website dedicated to their battle for their sacred water which includes a petition to sign and an option to support in donations. The website, Rezpect Our Water, also includes news surrounding the protests. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe also has a home website, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, that can tell you more about the tribe and their culture and history. It also includes a link to another petition and area for donations.
Even if the massive pipeline doesn't directly affect you, something as small as putting your name down on a petition could make a huge difference. Help be a part of the difference. Don't just sit by and let the government decide whether or not this sacred land is relevant. Not only is the tribe's culture at stake, but so is the health of every person connected to the river.