Stand With Standing Rock
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Politics and Activism

Stand With Standing Rock

It's not just about the native people, its about water.

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Stand With Standing Rock
Counter Current News

I'm sure you've seen it all over your Facebook feed, #standwithstandingrock. Do you know what it means? Do you just share it because you want to fit in, or do you genuinely stand with Standing Rock? I stand with Standing Rock, and I am going to tell you why. But first, what exactly is the Dakota Access Pipeline?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a new 1,172- mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Pakota, Illinois. The pipeline will enable domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to reach major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and environmentally responsible manner. It will transport approximately 470,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more. Construction of the pipeline began in 2014. The project will also address transportation strains in the Upper Midwest created by the dramatic increase in crude oil production in North Dakota. The pipeline created between 8,000-12,000 local jobs during construction, which is still going on.

Now that you know what the Dakota Access Pipeline is let me explain why so many are protesting it from all over the world.

From just looking at the facts given above and in the hyperlink, the Dakota Access Pipeline seems like a great thing. It created thousands of jobs, will save the U.S. tons of money and will make the U.S. less dependent on imported oil. If you dig deeper, you will find out that this pipeline will actually cross through the homelands of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Tribe. This pipeline is going to be built underneath the Missouri river. The Missouri River provides drinking water for thousands of Americans and irrigation water for thousands of acres of farming and ranching lands.

This isn't the first time that the Sioux's land has been taken without regard to tribal interests. In 1851 and 1868 the Sioux peoples signed treaties and the government broke them pretty much before the ink had dried. In 1958 when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River it took the Sioux's riverfront forest, fruit orchards and most fertile land to create Lake Oahe. Now the same Corps is taking their clean drinking water and sacred places. This fight isn't just about the Sioux, it is about those that live near the Missouri River too, the farmers, ranchers and small towns that depend on the river. If a spill were to happen it would be culturally and economically catastrophic. It would destroy thousands of acres of farmland, harming hundreds of species of animals, and ruin any surrounding waters, including the Lake and Missouri River. This would result in thousands of people being denied access to clean drinking water, not to mention the thousands of crops that would be destroyed which would ultimately effect the economy.

The fact that in 2016 we have to fight for the basic human right to clean water is absolutely absurd, but what is even worse is that the Lt. Governor of North Dakota threatened the people to use his power to end the protesting.

The tribe was never properly consulted over the project in the first place. The Army Corps ignored all of the federal laws that require agencies to consider environmental risks and protection of Indian historic and sacred sites. In fact, they fast-tracked the project just to meet the aggressive construction schedule. The Tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because they violated multiple federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act, National Historic Protection Act, and National Environmental Policy Act, when it issued permits to start construction. The Tribe asked for a halt in construction and the DAPL was told to stop construction within 20 miles east and west of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, yet they continued construction, inching ever closer to the River earlier this month.

Not only is this company denying people basic human rights, but they are completely disregarding the government and purposely refusing to do what they are told just to make a buck.

If and when that water gets contaminated it will affect everyone from North Dakota down to the Gulf of Mexico. Some people call the pipeline a "moneyline" for billionaires who'll never live on the land they're desecrating.

In September, the Dakota Access bulldozed an area of the pipeline corridor fill with the Tribal sacred sites and burials. Demonstrators trying to prevent the destruction of the site were pepper sprayed and attacked by guard dogs.

Although there are quite a few people protesting against the DAPL, there are a few that aren't.

Robert Fool Bear Sr is the district chairman of Cannon Ball. The town that he runs has an estimated population of 840 and is just a few miles from the protesting of DAPL. With the protesting has come a militarized reservation, road blocks, license-plate checks, low flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians. Fool Bear says that in order to reach his town you have to pass through a police checkpoint because of all of the protesting. He is fed up with the protesters and says that the crowds are out of control and that they have become a nuisance. He also says that two years ago, when this all started, the Tribe could have attended hearings and they didn't. Fool Bear says that even though he is against the protests, that doesn't mean he isn't preparing to help people once the winter comes.

Some people look forward to the pipeline because it will mean fewer trucks driving down the rural highways and fewer trains on the tracks.

There are some people who do not really care at all. Carl Bruce of Cannon Ball, who has lived with the tribe his whole life, says that the pipeline doesn't matter and that if it breaks he would just work around it. He says that he just moved north of the break and gets his water over there. He thinks that whether we like it or not, the pipeline is coming.

I don't think that Bruce understands that if the pipeline breaks all of the surrounding water will be affected and he will not just be able to move north.

So, where do you stand?

Are you standing with Standing Rock or are you standing with DAPL? Do you believe that it is every person's basic human right to have access to clean water? Do you believe that it is the government's duty to protect the homelands of the Native Tribes of the United States, the ones who were here long before the Europeans and have been fighting for centuries to keep their land? Do you believe that human life is more important than saving a dollar?

If you would like to donate to the cause click here.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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