After months of protesting, hundreds of arrests, dozens of injuries, and even the death of a protester, the wishes of those at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation have been granted. The construction of the nearly 2000-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline has been halted at the demand of the Army Corps of Engineers.
This is a marvelous victory for those who have spent the past several months at the camp on the Cannonball River, including The Fault in Our Stars actress Shailene Woodley who was arrested back in October for trespassing and rioting during a protest. The Pipeline protest has gained tapered national attention since it first began back in April with a single Sioux elder.
The controversy of the Pipeline has mainly centered around the fear that it would taint the water supply of the Sioux tribe and others in the area. This is a rational fear, as with any underground construction near a water supply, there will always be a possibility of dangerous chemicals seeping into the water.
The Sioux are also extremely concerned with the fact that the pipeline would go right through a portion of their ancient burial grounds. Desecration of the dead—no matter how old the remains, or what ethnicity—is morally wrong in my book as well as many others. The willingness to plow right through the graves of their ancestors is inconsiderate and hypocritical considering how vigorously we protect our own sacred graveyards.
So what can we learn from this? First and foremost—and at the risk of sounding cliché—this is a modern example of never giving up on something you believe in. At some point in time, the protesters most likely felt like giving up. They probably felt like they were fighting a battle that was impossible to win against such a looming force, but they didn’t; everyone fighting persevered and won a great victory.
Similarly, we could also see this as a precedent for an organized resistance winning. Too often we find ourselves fearing the government and huge corporations because it seems as if their decisions are final and unalterable. But don’t ever think you are too insignificant to have your voice heard. The protest at Standing Rock began with one person, and ended up making national headlines.
Fight for what you believe in, always.
Much love to Standing Rock.