Dakota Access Pipeline: A well-kept secret threat on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Preservation
It all started back in July when the US Army Corps of Engineers approved the Dakota Access Pipeline, otherwise known as “DAPL”, a $4 billion pipeline that will stretch across four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. In an attempt to halt the project’s construction, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe taken a stand against the construction and sued the US Army Corps. Their argument is that the massive pipeline would not only destroy the Tribe’s sacred sites, but threaten the environmental well-being of the Reservation’s inhabitants, as well as countless others across the 1,172-mile stretch. One spill, one mistake, could spell disaster for large number of people.
According to the BBC, the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline has encouraged the largest gathering of Native Americans in 100 years. The problem with this construction and its issues is that, most of it has flown under the radar of major news stations and most media outlets. It wasn’t until recently that the events at Sacred Stone Camp became more public as a private security company unleashed attack dogs on the protestors. According to The Associated Press, a tribe spokesman claimed that “…six people were injured by the dogs and at least another thirty were pepper-sprayed.” With bloodshed, came a flood of attention to the enduring resistance of the activists.
One major network that has made headway on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the fight at Sacred Stone Camp is MSNBC. In the piece, “Rewrite: the Protests at Standing Rock,” Lawrence O’Donnell spits out some cold hard truth on the history of the colonization and genocide of America and the treatment of Native Americans. O’Donnell says, “After all of our major wars, we signed peace treaties and lived by those treaties. After World War II, when we made peace with Germany, we then did everything we possibly could to rebuild Germany. No Native American Tribe has ever been treated as well as we treated Germans after World War II.” The Dakota Access Pipeline is, arguably, another slap in the face to the indigenous people.
Celebrities, too, have been showing their support for the cause and using their audience to spread awareness of the ongoing fight. Leonardo DiCaprio, who has also taken a strong stand on environmental issues like climate control, took to Twitter saying, “Inspired by the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Actors and Actresses like Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson, and Shailene Woodley have been speaking out against the Dakota Access Pipeline over social media for months. What’s more, is that on August 24, 2016, Shailene Woodley and Susan Sarandon attended a rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Washington D.C. right outside the U.S. District Court. It was at this same rally, which ran 2,000 miles from North Dakota to Washington D.C., that provided a petition meant to stop the continued construction of the pipeline.
In more recent events, the protesters have made a small step in the right direction. In light of all their efforts, a recent ruling offered a temporary halt to the project’s construction, but only in certain areas of the pipeline. According to Democracy Now! “Yesterday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a temporary restraining order that halts construction only between Route 1806 and Lake Oahe, but still allows construction to continue west of this area. The ruling does not protect the land where, on Saturday, hundreds of Native Americans forced Dakota Access to halt construction, despite the company’s security forces attacking the crowd with dogs and pepper spray.” The victory, if it can be called that, has only spared them a short lapse in the continuous damage to their lands and it does not erase the damage already done.
So, what happens if the construction continues? What happens if, like many dangerous attempts to produce and transport oil in the United States, something goes wrong? Will we look back to this moment in time and regret not protecting that which we have often taken for granted, or will the economic benefits blind the majority to the possibly harmful side effects of greed? Want to join the cause? Show your support and sign the petition to help put an end to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Change.org