Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Native Americans continue to be the consistent and persistent voices against the destruction of the earth and native lands. The most recent protest results from the government's construction of an oil pipeline intended to run from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline is intended to carry the oil resulting from fracking, a process that results in extensive pollution and contributes to land instability. Recent reports link recent Oklahoma earthquakes to fracking.
The most recent pipeline protests, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, attempt to protect some of the sacred lands being disrupted by pipeline construction. The pipeline route as presently designed would cause the disruption of sacred lands and burial grounds. In addition, a leak in the pipeline would cause the pollution of the surrounding lands.
One protester, Jeanne Weahkee, said "It's about our rights as native people to this land. It's about our rights to worship. It's about our rights to be able to call a place home, and it's our rights to water."
The US has a long history of taking land and other resources from the Native Peoples. And attacking their dignity in other ways, from breaking treaties to forced relocation of tribal members when their lands have commercial value. Yet it is the Native Peoples who lead the protests to our country's destruction of the earth. Few others are as committed to protecting the earth because many other Americans do not develop a sacred connection to the land.
President Obama recently said that the reports on consequences of global warming are terrifying. But relatively few Americans are taking strategic action to prevent further destruction of the earth and her resources. The Native People recognize our obligations to be stewards of the earth, with financial gain being irrelevant.
Temporary success came in the recent protests when the Obama administration halted construction in order to revisit the pipeline route.