Bethany K. New Jersey

Water is Life: On the Dakota Access Pipeline and Indigenous Rights

A level of respect for native livelihood over corporate greed must be established in order to brand yourself as a representative of human rights. Speak out for #NoDAPL.

To the next president,

Both of you are yet to comment on the Dakota Access pipeline being built through unceded native land, which includes not only sacred burial grounds, but also the main water source for the Sioux nation. A pipeline which has never leaked is a pipeline which has never existed -- the technology just hasn’t been developed yet. Despite efforts to reach this safehaven of oil pipeline sustainability, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust Carl Weimer said in 2015 that “there’s been an uptick in failures in the last decade”, and he’s right. Since 2009, oil pipeline accidents have risen 60% in the U.S., and these leaks aren’t insignificant. Plains All American Pipeline LP alone reported 223 pipeline leaks since 2006, causing 32 million dollars in damages. So when the Dakota Access pipeline leaks, it will contaminate the Mississippi River, as well as the native residents of Standing Rock.

Natives say the first location proposal for the pipeline was rejected by the citizens of Bismarck, a town 94% white, who feared water contamination. The pipeline was re-routed to upstream Standing Rock Sioux’s tribe reservation without the permission of natives. Now, native protestors are being arrested and beaten for protesting exactly what the white residents of Bismarck respectfully declined.

Have we not tormented the native nations of this country enough? Once lived 75 million indigenous persons across North America, now only 5 million live in the U.S. -- and though natives were here first, the U.S. government only granted them citizenship only in 1924. Can we at least respect some centuries-old treaties regarding the rights of those who were here first? 


Bethany K