Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hope for Standing Rock?

Last night police and other law enforcement officials scattered pipeline protesters in North Dakota. The police used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators despite freezing temperatures and one woman's arm was so badly injured it may be amputated. Why are they there and how has it come to this?

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Here is a description from the National Catholic Reporter:

The demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline began in April, and nd has since brought more than 200 Native American tribes together, in what has been called the largest such gathering in modern times. Support has also come from other corners, including numerous environmental organizations, to the Oceti Sakowin camp near the mouth of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers.

The Standing Rock Sioux have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the pipeline will cross land viewed as sacred, including burial sites, and is protected by existing treaties, and also pose a threat to the tribe's primary water source. The proposed path would take the pipeline underneath Lake Oahe and the Missouri River a half mile upstream of the tribe's reservation boundary. The tribe and supports have noted an earlier route had the pipeline passing near Bismarck, but was rejected early in the planning to protect municipal water supplies. If completed, the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline would carry daily as much as 570,000 barrels of crude oil from western North Dakota to Illinois,

Some observers figure that the heavy-handedness is because these are First Nations people. Many have been arrested, including journalists documenting the protest.  In stark contrast, recently a group of white armed occupiers were inexplicably acquitted of charges after they took over a federal wildlife reserve.

There are celebrities at Standing Rock and lesser lights, including hundreds of faith leaders. On All Saints Day more than 500 clergy were there in solidarity with the Standing Rock tribe because they know this is a matter of justice for people who have been minimized, oppressed and robbed for centuries, and it must stop.

I'm grateful that they are bearing witness, and I hope there is a just outcome. I'm not holding my breath, but I will pray. This is the Sunday of hope in the Advent season, so I better.

Have you been following this situation? Are you hopeful or disillusioned, or a little of both?

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roger said...

I really haven't been paying a lot of attention to this situation, but my default setting is to be on the side of the environment. I cringe hearing about all that oil being a real threat to large bodies of water. It probably doesn't help that I just watched "Deepwater Horizon" in the movie theatre!

Judy McKnight said...

Well, apparently a major oil spill (from a pipeline) has just polluted a large river (Susquahanna) and is affecting the drinking water of several eastern seabord states - maybe now they will pay attention?