Saturday, September 10, 2016

Victory at Standing Rock (sort of)

Last weekend the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline tore up sacred land following the filing of court documents by lawyers representing the Standing Rock Sioux people. It was done deliberately in order to destroy the evidence in the ground and it was done knowing it was likely a federal court would issue a restraining order in the case.

When their plan was discovered, instead of backing down and halting the destruction of the sacred lands, the pipeline builders sent security guards with attack dogs into the crowd and assaulted the people who were trying to preserve the land that our government stole from them over and over and over again.

As I am having problems embedding the video, click here for video footage of the attack courtesy of Democracy Now!

But now there is good news, sort of. On Friday, a federal judge continued the American legacy of stealing the land of the Native Americans by refusing to stop construction of the pipeline - though he did halt construction in a small area. But later, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Army announced that construction of the pipeline on lands bordering Lake Oahe would be halted immediately. The Army Corps of Engineers also called for consultation with Native Americans on all projects that would go through their lands.

While it is a victory. It is also far too little, far too late. President Obama could have interceded in this matter before the violence of last weekend. But he chose not to do so. After holding his finger in the wind for months he finally shut down the TransCanada XL pipeline project (as symbolic a gesture as it was), but without all the hoopla of the establishment environmental groups, the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline went unnoticed by most folks.

This administration, and the administrations before it, are too wedded to the oil industry and its money to clamp down on the destruction of the environment and the destruction of Native American lands. It is only when an army of white surburbanites raise the banner of fighting climate change that Obama looks up. In this instance it was just a bunch of indians who raised a stink. Not worth bothering with, I suppose.

It is beyond shameful what our government has done to the Native Americans over the past 3 centuries. We have stolen their lands again and again. We have massacred them. We have destroyed their hunting grounds. All of this in the name of manifest destiny - the ultimate in white supremecist doctrine.

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