The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation against the proposed 1,172 mile Dakota Access Pipeline is a throwback fight, it conjures up memories of the centuries earlier tussle between a people who hold that the earth is sacred, versus Big Business and finance capital who hold nothing sacred except the possession of property,the making of money and the exploitation of labor.
Dogs, mace, armored cars, shotguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons have been used to deter the Standing Rock Sioux and other Indian nations and their allies in their struggle to protect their and our water and their burial grounds.
The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline would begin at North Dakota’s Bakken oil field, and would move about half a million barrels of crude oil a day through the Dakotas, Iowa, and into a hub in Illinois.
The iron fist approach isn’t working, so not surprisingly the people who believe money is everything offered the Standing Rock Nation a bribe. James J. Volker, chief executive officer of Whiting Petroleum, said in a recent interview that,” tribal grievances against the pipeline could be solved if the industry gave tribes economic opportunities. That would include contracting with Native American-owned firms for water hauling and other oil-related jobs [on the project]”
However, Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, dismissed the bribe saying money has nothing to do with their opposition. The chairman said in an interview with Reuters that, “It’s going to be very difficult for us to allow this line to come through just because some indigenous-owned company may benefit. If this pipeline goes through, we will be the first to pay the cost.”
The Indians and their allies are opposed to the pipeline because it threatens to disturb Native burial grounds and would run next to the Standing Rock Nation and under the Missouri river adjacent to the Nation. The pipeline which is about 48 percent complete will run under the Missouri river which is a water source for the tribe. According to the Nation, if the river is polluted by a spill it could contaminate its water supply as well as destroy the river which would have a far reaching environmental impact.
At present most of the oil is delivered by rail which has its own hazards. But oil and gas pipelines practically always produce spills. Southeast Georgia is currently battling a major gas spill.
The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster exposed the damage crude oil can do to water, marine and wild life. Oil spills on land are just as hazardous. Spills on land could render fertile land unfit for plant life, because it reduces the soil’s ability to hold oxygen, which is a key element of plant growth and photosynthesis. Oil also prevents water from being absorbed, which keeps plants from being nourished.
Proving once again that protest does work, the Obama administration ordered a temporary halt to construction for 40 miles on each side after a US District Court previously refused to stop the pipeline. The D.C. US Appeals Court granted a temporary halt while other appeals can be heard.
CNN won’t cover this story, nor will the major corporate news bodies give it more than a mention. They won’t cover the protest because there are a lot of Big Banks (international and national), including CitiBank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America with large investments in the company building the pipeline, Dakota Access LLC, their financial cousins so to speak. And the corporate media has no interest in showing indigenous peoples in solidarity or its support from other groups of working people; it undercuts popular stereotypes.
What is also unique is that over 300 Indian nations and thousands of Native peoples have joined the Standing Rock Nation in this epic battle of the people versus Big business and finance capital. The unity of the Indian nations is almost as important as the fight. Our native brothers and sisters are at the point of the spear and we would do well to solidarize with them in this fight.
We have to be absolutely clear about what’s at stake here, if the capitalists are allowed to strip the environment in their headlong rush for profit we will all suffer. Notice they never dig or try to tote oil into their own backyard. The really rich seem to be immune to the consequences of destroying the environment. Maybe after they successfully exploit this one, they are in hopes of finding other planets to exploit, it’s what the Mars exploration is about.
One farm neighbor proving North American a-historicity and ignorance has no bounds, said about the “water protectors” “They’re on corps land, which they’re not supposed to be on.” .