Sioux Tribe Fights for it’s Land

Mireya Curiel

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Oil pipeline companies are invading the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s land in North Dakota, which has resulted in the biggest indigenous gathering in American history.  The Dakota Access Pipeline is scheduled to run oil from North Dakota all the way to Illinois, which includes invading sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and going under the Missouri River.

Over the past few months, tribes from all nations have gathered to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and pray for the water supply for all people who are going to be affected by this oil pipeline.

“It angers me because these people are fighting for water and it’s a human right to have water, and this oil company supposedly says it’s going to be fine, but there is always a flaw in it,” said junior Aracely Hernandez. “There is never a safe pipeline, there’s always going to be a spill. I don’t think the pipeline should be continuing and it’s not okay. Many of these protectors are brave–they’re my heroes. They are over there protecting their land and our future.”

The $3.8 billion project is 60% done, according to The Seattle Times. The Dakota Access Pipeline is just waiting to start construction on the sacred burial land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Native Americans believe this pipeline not only endangers the water supply of the natives on the land, but of everyone else who is along the Missouri River.

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s first route choice was supposed to go through Bismarck, North Dakota, but due to the possibility of harming the water supplies of the people of Bismarck, the oil company decided to go with their second plan. Their Plan B was taking the pipeline through the border of the Standing Rock Reservation. The pipeline company didn’t mention in the environmental assessment that the pipeline would harm the water drinking supplies of the tribe and local citizens. Some say this shows how little respect the pipeline company has for the indigenous people of Standing Rock.

Since the beginning of the construction in 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been speaking out to Congress, and Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline company has acknowledged the tribe’s position, but refused to change its plan.

The “protesters” felt they were unjustly treated at an incident that occurred at Standing Rock when a judge halted the construction during Labor Day weekend and protectors of the lands left for the weekend. When they came back, the pipeline company had constructed on sacred burial land. The pipeline company then hired private security guards on Sept. 3, who brought attack dogs that bit 12 people, including a child and pepper sprayed many others.

Today many unarmed people are still gathering at Standing Rock to pray and sing for the water supply that is endangered. They have been facing off with police and deputy sheriffs, who have arrived with tanks and are dressed in riot gear, carrying shotguns, and pepper spray. Many people are also being unlawfully arrested for causing riots, while they are only praying and singing for protection. Women and children, who the oil company and news channels call “protesters,” are only protecting their sacred land and water supply peacefully. Many of these “violent protesters” like to call themselves protectors because they say they are protecting future generations to come and are scared that if an oil spill occurred all of the water supply will be contaminated.

The controversy over the oil pipeline going through Standing Rock Reservation is not being adequately covered on mainstream news because many of the oil companies fund the news companies. This is resulting in unfair coverage about what’s going on in North Dakota.

“It makes me frustrated because the news should be where we get information on all sorts of topics but instead, sometimes the most important things are ignored by the news because the news channels sometimes have connections with the stories,” said history teacher Mr. Daniel Buccieri. “For example, the Standing Rock issues about the Dakota Access Pipeline, the oil pipeline and the fracking companies also contribute to the news corporations like CNN and different news channels, and they can’t report fairly on this issue.”

In all three presidential debates, this topic was not been brought by either of the candidates. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, is invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The fact that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has not said anything about the pipeline is due to many of her donors funding the pipeline. The only one who has been addressing this issue and has actually visited Standing Rock Camp is Jill Stein, who is a candidate in the Green Party.

Not only have 250 tribes gathered to support Standing Rock, but people all over the country have been advocating for and supporting Standing Rock. For example, in Los Angeles, Self Graphics and other groups have been holding fundraisers and have been collecting donations to send to the Standing Rock Camp. The controversy has also caught the attention of celebrities like Willow Smith, who attended a peaceful protest in Los Angeles in October and Shailene Woodly, who was arrested in North Dakota and has been advocating about Standing Rock.

“I don’t think we’re dealing with a 100% truth in reality of where we are with our relationship to water, to the environment, to each other and I think it’s a huge, huge historical lie currently in modern day,” said Lydia Ponce, who works in the Venice High Parent Center “The government has to honor the treaties, honor the commitment, their word. It’s been a travesty of trust and humanity. Students should hash tag #NODAPL and share on social media to get the word out and spread awareness of the situation.”

Students who are concerned about this issue have been calling the White House at (202) 456-1111 telling the government to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and to give the indigenous people of Standing Rock their land back.