Per reader request, here’s some info on the Standing Rock Sioux protest – apparently the biggest Native American protest in decades – and a thread to discuss it.
Bill McKibben offers a good backgrounder in The New Yorker:
This week, thousands of Native Americans, from more than a hundred tribes, have camped out on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, which straddles the border between the Dakotas, along the Missouri River. What began as a slow trickle of people a month ago is now an increasingly angry flood. They’re there to protest plans for a proposed oil pipeline that they say would contaminate the reservation’s water; in fact, they’re calling themselves protectors, not protesters.
Their foe, most directly, is the federal government, in particular the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has approved a path for the pipeline across the Missouri under a “fast track” option called Permit 12. That’s one reason the Dakota Access Pipeline, as it’s known, hasn’t received the attention that, say, the Keystone XL Pipeline did, even though the pipe is about the same length. Originally, the pipeline was supposed to cross the Missouri near Bismarck, but authorities worried that an oil spill there would have wrecked the state capital’s drinking water. So they moved the crossing to half a mile from the reservation, across land that was taken from the tribe in 1958, without their consent. The tribe says the government hasn’t done the required consultation with them—if it had, it would have learned that building the pipeline there would require digging up sacred spots and old burial grounds.
One protester told Democracy Now – which has been reporting from onsite for several days – that the construction company actually deliberately targeted a burial ground “miles away from where any construction was happening,” and stealthily and spitefully bulldozed it over the holiday weekend.
It’s also been reported–but not nearly widely enough, in my view–that the private security company hired by Energy Transfer Partners attacked the protesters not just with pepper spray, but with dogs, recalling for many the long sordid history of colonizers from Columbus onward doing the same. Many are wondering how these kinds of attacks can be legal, and why the Federal government isn’t stepping in.
Lots of info out there – what is everyone else hearing? BTW, Walter Kirn’s twitter feed from onsite is very good , and he’s reporting that the media is finally starting to show up.