Yesterday, I had the privilege of showing solidarity with Standing Rock by attending a #NoDAPL rally in Telfair Square, Savannah, Georgia. Friends of the environment were represented fully, with signs reading Green, Save Our Water, Sacred Land and more. The speakers discussed the importance of acknowledging climate change, the damage that could be caused by pipelines and oil spills and loving Mother Earth.
Enforcing environmental justice is necessary and is the responsibility of all who live under the sun and commune with this great planet, but the battle taking place on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is more than Green, it is a Cultural Violation. Indigenous People have suffered enough in the name of progress and expansion.
“The Great Spirit in His wisdom placed you here and gave [this land] to you and your children to defend. But ä-te-wä! [alas!] the incoming race, like a huge serpent is coiling closer and closer about you.” Tecumseh
The Standing Rock Tribal Council issued a Call to Action of All Indigenous People’s on August 15, 2016.
Read document here: call-to-action-of-indigenous-peoples
Before we go any further, let’s discuss the specifics of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in regards to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. As to not reinvent the wheel, GreenMedInfo completed a Special Report detailing the consequences of the DAPL. The full report with the actual complaint filed in federal court and the NoDAPL Movement magazine which chronicles events thus far can be found below. I’ll provide a snapshot here:
Despite the objections of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota, Energy Transfer Partners [ETP] (a multi-billion dollar corporation) began construction on the DAPL in May 2016. It is important to note that the DAPL was initially slated to run through Bismarck, ND, which is 90% White. The residence opposed the proposal citing the potential harm to their water supply; therefore, ETP moved on to a marginalized group’s land, the Native Americans of the Standing Rock Tribe. Who cares about their land and water, right?
On July 26, 2016, The US Army Corps of Engineers approved the DAPL to run under Lake Oahe. On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a complaint in federal court citing the following: “The construction and operation of the pipeline, as authorized by the Corps, threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe” (Case 1:16-cv-01534). So what are the consequences of a pipeline that stretches 1,168 miles from North Dakota to Illinois under (main) water supplies and through burial grounds and Treaty Lands?
If construction is completed, the pipeline is expected to carry approximately 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing underneath Lake Oahe and the Missouri River a half-mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.  The Missouri River is the main source of drinking and irrigation water for the 8,200 residents of the Standing Rock reservation. The pipeline would pump an estimated 17,000 gallons of oil per minute underneath this water source, which would be devastated by a spill or leak.  This project poses serious environmental threats and will disturb burial grounds and sacred sites on the Tribe’s ancestral Treaty lands. (GreenMedInfo, 2016)
I don’t know about you, but my heart aches for the crimes against this tribe and every Native American Tribe in the US for the historical and current atrocities committed against them FOR PROFIT. I truly believe that before a person takes a stand on an issue, he/she needs to understand the intricate details of the issue, so, I would like to present this topic from a “Native Perspective.”
Stand in solidarity with Standing Rock, fight for something greater than you and know that the debt owed to Native Americans is unrequitable!
(Peace in Lakota Sioux)
By: LaQuaria Barton