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I Stand With Standing Rock

Summer Fathke, Journalist

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Standing Rock Protestors

We are told that we learn and study history to not only know about the world’s past, but to prevent making the mistakes our ancestors made. There is one vivid mistake that our American ancestors made around 200 years ago that we as a nation have become insensitive to: The Indian Removal Act.

Later, our government recognized how wrong this act was and gave American-Indians federally reserved lands as an apology. Throughout the years, Congress has passed many acts illegally taking small portions of their land, forcing their reservations to grow smaller and smaller.

In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that “A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found in our history.”

Sadly, the 1980 U.S. Supreme Court was wrong, because we are now living through possibly the worst case of dishonorable dealings.

In July of 2016, the US Army Corps of Engineers approved the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline that would cost $3.8 billion and would stretch through 1,172 miles of land, including the land of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST).

“We have laws that require federal agencies to consider environmental risks and protection of Indian historic and sacred sites,” Dave Archambault II, the elected chairman of the SRST, said in an earlier statement.

So the Sioux Tribe and their supporters stood up for the laws that were in place. After 9 months of protest, around 5,000 peaceful protestors living on site (2,000 of them veterans), and many more that came by daily, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they had denied an easement allowing the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, effectively halting work on the pipeline.

But the fight isn’t over.

In his own Inauguration speech, President Trump stated “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” then later promised, “I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.”

When Trump was addressing the nation, he obviously wasn’t speaking to the American-Indians of our country, and if he was then he has already gone back on his word of “never” letting them down. Four days into his Presidency, Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Expiditing the approval process, trying to get the project finished.

One of the main purposes of building the pipeline is to create jobs, but what the people of our nation don’t realize is that the pipeline won’t provide many job opportunities. Yes, the building of the pipeline will and has required lots of people, but once the building is done the pipeline only creates 40 permanent jobs.

When news broke out the people and supporters of standing rock were upset, and rightfully so.  The SRST claims “The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million downstream”

Contamination is a real fear, most likely because they don’t want to end up in the same situation as the people of Flint, Michigan (who still don’t have clean water after two years).

Even if there weren’t any environmental factors as to why the Dakota Access pipeline should be rerouted, the government should still respect the wishes of the Sioux Tribe.

The land they live on is an apology for all of the harm that explorers did hundreds of years ago, and to take this apology back would certainly be a dishonorable dealing.

When the government gave American-Indians Reservations, it was almost like burying the hatchet. If Trump were to go through with the Dakota Access Pipeline, it would be him digging up the hatchet, and slaughtering the SRST with it.

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1 Comment

One Response to “I Stand With Standing Rock”

  1. Sarah on January 28th, 2017 9:22 pm

    Heck yes, beautifully written!!!!

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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