What is going on with the Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock and the Dakota access pipeline?
In a glimpse, tribes have lived on this land (a large portion of the United States, including Standing Rock) for thousands of years and it is very sacred to them. A different culture invaded their land in search of freedom and prosperity. This new tribe had no connection to the land. They didn’t learn the importance of it, or it’s history. The people of the new culture took the land, and gave small portions back to the original dwellers.
This happened for a few hundred years, and the new culture built a national government, known as the United States of America. In 1862, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie (also known as the Sioux Treaty), the Sioux Tribe acquiesced a corner of the vast land their ancestors flourished in.
DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
Over the next hundred and fifty years, treaties like this are created throughout the country, and repeatedly violated. Time and time again, sacred land is hijacked for corporate exploitation.
On June 6th, 2014, Energy Transfer Partners announce a project to build a major oil pipeline, to carry roughly 470,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. After two years of legal work, they get a permit to build the pipeline. It becomes known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.[PICTURE]
The pipeline is 1,172 miles long. Much of the land it goes through is sacred Native American land. The new culture, that now controls the land they once sailed to, still does not understand the value of land. They do not see it as alive, or sacred. They have no spiritual connection.
I grew up in Massachusetts, went to high school in Wyoming, college in Colorado, and now live in Utah. What value do I have on the land I grew up on? I care about the Earth and want to help protect it from being destroyed. But I do not care about the land the way that many do. I’ve moved to more houses than I can count. I loved the places I lived, but had no problem picking up and finding new land when my lease went up.
I am from the new culture. I grew up on the ideals of knowledge, hardwork, and compassion, but also digital progress. The joy of soccer, skateboarding and nature crafted my childhood, shadowed by the allure of the internet.
I heard stories past down from ancestors who lived on a land, from the lens of the new culture. We built model teepees and learned about cultures exchanging resources. A brave adventurer sailing on the Mayflower, and people escaping religious tyranny for freedom.
The older I got, and the bigger the internet got, the more we began to collide. Everything can be factchecked. What I’ve learned is that many stories are so complex that details often must be left out. The error in our culture is in the details we left out. Our culture was built by humans, and we have a tendency to see ourselves as in the right. Selective amnesia, we forget about things that don’t align with the way we want to remember an event.
We must stop. Stop and think. Realize what we’ve been missing. We don’t all see the world the same way. Some people have lived on their land since time immemorial, and some have never lived in one place for more than a year. The latter group can not understand the meaning of the land to the former. Our culture has become flooded with throw aways. Things that don’t matter after a day. Artists, movies, social issues… things matter for a moment and then… interest dissipates, and slowly dies. And we move on to the next thing.
With land… we can’t move on. When we use the resource and grow tired of it, the land is still there. In the condition we left it. Life is a powerful force, and the Earth will adjust it’s weather patterns to heal the harmed area, and destroy the parasite.
From April-December 2016, thousands of people formed a camp at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They prayed, sang, and stood their ground, using their bodies as shields to protect the land from the Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline was on hold for court review.
As hard as they fought, a menace took hold of the new culture. This shame of a human is a proponent of all things against the ideals of the old tribes. He sees land as a means. He thinks it is there for us to use. Our God given right to extract every last drip of oil and life from beneath the surface.
He approved the pipeline, and removed the peaceful protest camp. In June 2017, the pipeline came to life.
This is a reality that we are facing. We will not win this fight without you.
Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock captures the event from a firsthand perspective. Three directors (Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey) got together and each made a part of the film, and combined it into a powerful, tragic narrative of rights, life and evil. This was by the far the most absurd and terrrible police brutality I have ever seen on film. Throughout the movie, large groups of people are sprayed with hoses and maced, with the moon out and snow on the ground. This is insane. We can not let this persist.
Find how you can get involved in your community. There are more oil sites popping up than ever before and clean energy is at the cusp of taking over. We have to be the transition.