By Brandon Martinez, guest writer
Over 200 indigenous nations and thousands of activists from all walks of life have united to peacefully stand up for tribal rights amid police using rubber bullets, tear gas, concussion grenades, sound cannons, water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, and other military-style weapons that have injured hundreds of people.
Families, individuals, and leaders involved in the drama unfolding in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota have shocked the nation. A 3.8 billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline that would take fracked oil from the Bakken oil field through North and South Dakota, Iowa, and then Illinois has inspired activists from all walks of life to join the voice of #NoDAPL.
As of December 2nd, USA Today claims there are estimates of 1,000 to 3,000 civilians at Standing Rock. In a season of interpersonal and intrapersonal calamity regarding the election results, high rates of people are reaching within themselves for strands of truths and deciding to be added to the growth of environmental and social justice movements.
Environmental groups and Native Americans say that should the pipeline spring a leak, it would contaminate Lake Oahe, and many important surrounding rivers. For example, the Missouri river which flows past four other states on its way to the Mississippi river. Besides the potentially irreversible environmental damage, the proposed construction on the pipeline has ignored the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty and threatened sites held sacred by Native Americans which contain burial grounds and cultural artifacts.
Fury against illogical planning by part of the fossil fuel companies is not endemic to the high plains. Activists continue to gather at Army Corps offices, at financially supportive Citibank and Wells Fargo banks in the U.S. and worldwide in major cities including Tokyo, London, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Although the nation’s two presidential contenders both did not mention the remarkably pivotal and symbolic solidarity actions in the Dakotas, I’ve personally taken this elapsed time as a “call to action” to stand up for clean water, environmental justice and a working climate from here in Sacramento.
For up-to-date news surrounding this issue or information on how to help, please visit standwithstandingrock.net.