Celebrate your families, enjoy good food this year and rejoice in your thanks. Also, take a moment to reflect on the gravity of our national reality. Once you have done that, act. Donate to the support efforts in Standing Rock. Here is why:
It has been said that climate change and the environment will be the biggest issue to face our generation. This is no exaggeration, particularly as we continue to rely on carbon producing fossil fuels. Right now we have a group of people at the Standing Rock reservation protesting the creation of the Dakota Access Pipe Line better known as DAPL.
This is an environmental issue. DAPL is a direct threat to the water supply of the Sioux Tribe in the region. As we have seen so much damage done to the planet from the deep digging required to transport crude oil to its processing plants. The pipeline was originally said to go through Bismark, N.D. ,a neighboring town. The residents there didn’t approve the pipeline going through their region for the same reasons and it was re-routed through Standing Rock.
This is a social issue. Bismark is a predominantly white neighborhood, and this is relevant to the story in so far that this is the only major difference between the people of this neighborhood and those of Standing Rock, who are Native Americans. In 1868 the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed between the US government and the Ogallalah band of Sioux. An excerpt from the treaty states:
“If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent and forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington City, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also re-imburse the injured person for the loss sustained.”
At this point there seems to be no intervention of the US government to protect Sioux, people or their land as it pertains to this treaty. It would seem that local and state police are instead allowed to commit violence on protestors who are trying to block the commencement of the project.
This is a political issue. As the story has unfolded we have seen an escalation of force by the authorities against the protesters. Mace, rubber bullets, and tasers were used on them in September and nearly 500 arrests have been made since the protesting began. What it has begun to appear as is state inflicted violence on behalf of a corporation. The interests that are being put against each other are commercial good versus public good.
This is a cultural issue. Millions of Americans gather around the dinner table this week to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition, one in which we appreciate the trust and acceptance of Native Americans helping settlers. A greater expression of gratitude would be to support the Native American people now. Please make it a point to engage your families in this critical issue and take direct action to support.
Supply note: With at least two hundred injured this week, Standing Rock medics are in critical need of the following items:
Milk of Magnesia
Trauma kits (portable)
Supplies can be shipped to:
Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
PO Box 1251, Bismark ND, 58502
or if you are shipping via UPS or Fed Ex, please use the address:
220 E. Rosser Ave. 1251, Bismark, ND, 58502
Donations can be sent here: