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Dakota Access Pipeline & the President-Elect

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_web_elderly_woman_being_arrested-photog_myron_dewey.jpgExcessive force indeed! The United Nations blasts the Americans on November 17 for its response to the Water Protectors' protest in South Dakota. The struggles around the Dakota Access Pipeline took an alarming turn when Donald Trump became the United States President-Elect on November 9th. At right is a photograph from Indian Country Today Media Network courtesy of Myron Dewey. What you see in this very disturbing photo is merely the continuation of what has never ended in the United States when it comes to Native Americans. Here is the American historical response to Indigenous sovereignty since the 1500s:

1. Militarized response to Indigenous peaceful protests;

2. Disregard of Indigenous sacred sites;

3. Allowing EuroAmerican "authorities" like archaeologists and anthropologists decide if lands or objects actually are sacred, not Native people;

4. Breaking of legally-binding treaties signed by United States officials and Indigenous leaders.

b2ap3_thumbnail_dapl-oct_22_arrests_makai_lewis-cropped.jpgThese events are happening at this moment in South Dakota, but I could just as easily be describing events from Wounded Knee in 1973 or many places in the Americas where Native people publicly protect land and water. 

On November 14, Jeff Brady from National Public Radio interviewed Kelsey Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline. During that interview Warren expressed how pleased he was that Trump was elected because now the Keystone XL Pipeline will be constructed. Trump owns stock in the company! When Brady pressed Warren about the sacredness of the land and the Native graveyards that have been desecrated, Warren flatly said "Our archaeologists said there are no sacred sites near the pipeline." When Brady pressed him even further about the likelihood of construction continuing after Trump is in office, Warren said forcefully, "The pipeline WILL be built."


There are several  thousand Native Americans, environmentalists, farmers, activists, politicians, and Lovers of Justice who disagree with him, along with the attorneys on the National Lawyers Guild!--and the legal help for the Standing Rock Sioux nation is pouring in across the country. The broad coalition of local, state, and national organizations and individuals working in unity made a difference in initially stopping construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and they will make a difference in South Dakota again.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ens_110416_elderwomanfire.jpgWhat the events around the Dakota Access Pipeline also unequivocally demonstrate is the POWER of PEOPLE OF ALL IDENTITIES coming together in LOVE for SOCIAL JUSTICE!

In the photo at right, by Lynette Wilson of the Episcopal News Service, is a Native Elder burning a copy of the Doctrine of Discovery. This is the 500 year old document giving Columbus the right to conquer Indigenous lands.

If you want to be a part of the national collective helping the Standing Rock Sioux and people of South Dakota impacted by the pipeline, here are some sites:

Water Protector Legal Collective.


Water Protectors United on Facebook.

Together, we can make a difference--that's the way justice has always been served!

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Dr. Mays is a professional writer with a doctoral degree in Native American Studies who has taught at the college level for nearly two decades. She is committed to educating about Indigenous cultures, especially about practices that specifically relate to women, in order to raise awareness about current issues in Indian Country, dissolve stereotypes, and create healing among all communities.


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