The Standing Rock Resistance Is Unprecedented (It's Also Centuries Old)
The current events that are occurring at Standing Rock are both groundbreaking, but also, sadly all too familiar.
Ever since the European invasion of America, the Natives who previously ruled the land have been trampled on and mistreated by the new occupiers.
The protest that is happening at Standing Rock is amazing display of solidarity and an expression of people standing up for what they believe in, which is a rare occurrence in modern society. The urgent need for Native Americans to protect their own land, however, has been going on for centuries.
Since the camp at Standing Rock was set up in April, thousands of people have passed through showing their support, Indian Country Today reporter Ruth Hopkins said "It's historic, really. I don't think anything like this has ever happened in documented history".
But this is not the first time Native American tribes have protested pipeline.
|Protesters have a standoff with police during a demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Mandan, N.D., on Nov. 15.|
In 2015 the Keystone XL project was debated, but ultimately disallowed by President Obama. The proposed pipeline would have been 1,179 miles long from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, but The Rosebud Sioux, a tribe in South Dakota, said the pipeline was an "act of war" and set up a camp to stop the construction from happening. They were joined by Environmental Protection Agency, the National Resources Defence Council, and the Omaha, Dene, Ho-chunk, and Creek Nations.
A. Gay Kingman, the executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association however, warned that it would happen again, saying "Wopila [thank you] to all our relatives who stood strong to oppose the KXL," Kingman said in a statement after the veto. "But keep the coalitions together, because there are more pipelines proposed, and we must protect our Mother Earth for our future generations."
The importance of the natural world to the Native Tribes cannot be understated, as Hopkins says "If you don't know very much about Native American people, you wouldn't understand that this is something that's kind of natural to us," said Hopkins, who is enrolled in the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Nation and was born on the Standing Rock Reservation. "When we have ceremonies, we do camps like this. It's something that we've always known how to do, going back to pre-colonial times."
In the gold rush of the late 1800's, the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes all set up camps to resist the US Army when they tried to shut down their camps to search for gold.
And in the famous Battle of Little Bighorn, Native American tribes defeated the American army in a pivotal moment for Native American land rights.
|Native American women demonstrate in 1973 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where roughly 200 American Indians occupied the town of Wounded Knee for the rights of indigenous people.|
Most people witnessing the violence towards the water protectors at standing rock will be shocked, but sadly it is not a new situation.
"There are no rights being violated here that haven't been violated before." said Kim Tallbear, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She adds "I'm, like, oh yeah, they did that in the 19th century, they did that in the 16th century," she said. "This is not new. ... The contemporary tactics used against indigenous people might look a little bit more complex or savvy, but to me, I can read it all as part of a longstanding colonial project."
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The Standing Rock Resistance Is Unprecedented (It's Also Centuries Old) Reviewed by C C on 16:44:00 Rating: