Since April, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Now, the Sioux people and Native Americans from tribes across the country are standing together to preserve their water supply, cultural resources and their overall welfare.
The pipeline’s route was originally supposed to cross the Missouri River near Bismarck until the decision was made to shift the construction of the pipeline just a half a mile upstream of the tribe’s reservation boundary. This decision meant the pipeline would pass through sacred sites and burials that federal law seeks to protect.
When the Sioux tribe took this issue to court, the judge had dismissed their case. According to the Standing Rock Sioux website, the federal government did not consult with them prior to the decision of the route of the pipeline.
The number of those seeking to prevent potential devastation of Native American lands has reached into the thousands, and many have suffered consequences as a result.
As the protests have gone on, protesters have been targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas. Additionally, they have been doused in cold water, which is extremely dangerous in the cold winter weather.
Being a member of the Kahnawake Mohawk tribe, I along with many other members of my tribe, have stood with the Sioux people and participated in our own protest. A small group of Kahnawake Mohawks set up a camp in the middle of our reservation and had a teepee that read, “Water is our first medicine,” showing a sign of solidarity and hope for what is to come.
Native Americans have shown to stick together through traitorous and testing times. Amidst the turmoil that engulfs daily society, several outlets shine light on how deeply rooted the Native American culture is and how it is being affected by the attempts corporations make to take advantage of already-depleted territories.
Being a full-blooded Native American I have taken the pledge against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I hope you will too.