Dakota Access Pipeline remains point of contention

By Frances Johnston
Contributing Writer

Not only is the Dakota Access Pipeline hazardous and a potential health risk to the Native American community of the Standing Rock Sioux people, but it is utterly disrespectful.

According to the Tribal Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, David Archambault II, “Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts.”

The 1,200 mile oil pipeline now lies under the Missouri River. For years it has served as a source of clean drinking and bath water as well as water for agricultural purposes, that not only benefits the daily lives of thousands of Americans, but also the livelihood of a community of people who are almost culturally extinct.

It is understandable that America would want to have a home based oil supply to stop their dependency on foreign resources, but forcefully taking over land that is rightfully occupied or inherited by a group of people, is surely not the way to do it.

The natives of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have exercised their legal and civil rights in a number of ways. First by petitioning the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to do a thorough examination of the site.

However their efforts proved to be ineffective, so they proceeded to sue stating that they were not consulted before the pipeline was approved and that the U.S Army has violated the National Historic Preservation Act that supports and encourages the preservation of prehistoric and historic sites.

But of course, their actions proved to be futile. As a last resort, camps were stationed along the Missouri River and other construction sites in an act of protest. A protest with peaceful intentions turned violent.

The people of Standing rock, as well as other tribes and fellow Americans in support were met with violence. They were pepper sprayed, beaten, abused and tear gassed for standing up for something, standing up for their beliefs.

These protests have gained the support from celebrities such as “Secret Life of The American Teenager” star Shailene Woodley, who according to a news report on the website TIME, “Was arrested…and charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot.”

It’s a shame that for the people who were the first documented persons to live and settle on this land, a land that praises its advocacy for equal rights and opportunity, are being denied their first amendment right and are being left empty handed of their property, culture and peace of mind.

The Native American community has endured more than enough from America and its flawed character. It is time that they are shown the proper respect they are entitled to as the rightful owners of this country. The Dakota Access Pipeline is an abomination and should be destroyed. Enough is enough.

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