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COLUMN: Pipeline Protest Makes One Think About the Future

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The Dakotas are two states people do not typically talk very much about. We think Mount Rushmore, and really there is not much else to those states. However, there is something going on that is very huge: the North Dakota pipeline protest. Indigenous tribes are protesting the installation of a pipeline that will go through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

So what’s the big deal? Its’ just one of, “… 8 pipelines cross the Missouri River carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of energy products every day,” according to Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now. It can be very easy to think that this is just another project, and that should be it. I mean, if we already have crossed the Missouri River eight times, we can do it again. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been protesting the pipeline since the summer, and they are prepared to stay all winter if need be.

“The protesters want to see construction of the pipeline halted entirely and its route changed,” according to Huffington Post.

Their evidence is that there has been a growing amount of pipeline accidents, and they are concerned about their water source and their sacred burial grounds.

But this protest goes deeper than just saving the earth and water sources. This protest is about the U.S. government taking control of land that is part of the Great Sioux nation treaty of 1851, which is unceded land that has not been given back to the U.S. government from the tribe. Now this sounds slightly suspicious. I am now thinking that there might be a chance that what is happening over there is not as safe as we think it will be.

Peaceful protesters are being sprayed with pepper spray. Peace is being met with violence. Is this sounding familiar? It should. Some people are comparing the protests in North Dakota to the Civil Rights protests. We can only look away for so long before our conscious will catch up with us. Is it really right for the U.S. government to go through sacred ground again?

We have come a long way from where we first were with our relationship to the native tribes. The pushback of this protest seems to have pushed us back decades. Let us simply think for a minute about what it would be like if we were the minority, if we were the ones sticking our necks out not only for ourselves, but for keeping our water clean. Would you do it?

The protesters have been going strong for months now while hundreds have been arrested. According to Huffington Post, the pipeline is already completed up the Missouri River. But, “…if the pipeline is not completed and moving oil by Jan. 1, the developers’ contracts with shippers could expire,” said Huffington Post.

No matter what side you are on, we can agree that we all need to think about our future. If that means economically you might be for the pipeline. If the future means clean water and fewer risks to contaminating it you might be for the protest.

Think about our silence or solidarity because in the end it makes all the difference.

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COLUMN: Pipeline Protest Makes One Think About the Future