In the midst of brouhaha over Trump interrupting Hillary numerous times in the presidential debate, here is one important issue that we never paid attention to.
Recently, a military-style operation disrupted a peaceful prayer by a Native American. The prayer was a part of an ongoing struggle between an indigenous Native American tribe and the federal government over the construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Oh well, seems like Black lives weren’t enough.
The Native Americans have been subjected to police brutality through teargas, armoured vehicles and helicopters, and the world is silent. It can potentially lead to the end of a tribe on the face of this earth.
Here is our time to understand the issue.
What is the DAPL?
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, is a proposed 1,172-mile long, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will transport domestically produced crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, major refining markets through a faster, more cost-effective method. Its maximum capacity is 570,000 barrels per day. The pipeline will tentatively be on service by the fourth quarter of 2016.
Who Is Funding It?
According to Hugh Macmillan, a senior researcher with Food and Water Watch, a nongovernmental consumer rights group which focuses on governmental and corporate accountability on food and water, the money for DAPL is funded by the likes of Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs and JP MorganChase.
Why The Protests?
The pipeline ignores the impact to sacred places of the Native American tribe and damages its culturally significant areas (quite like how tourism has destroyed the Uluru or Ayers Rock which has been of an existential significance to the Anangu people).
The pipeline passes through half a mile of the tribe’s ancestral land, their current reservation. Not only this, but an oil leak can contaminate the only source of water for the Tribe – the Missouri river.
Who Are The Protestors?
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who are the original inhabitants of the region. Democrat Bernie Sanders and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein have been vocal about their protests. From the film fraternity, the cause has found Susan Saradon and Leonardo DiCaprio as its supporters.
Marginalisation of a community is a systematic process of their decimation in the eyes of the popular masses so that exploitation can be facilitated easily. The invisibility of the issue in the media is a beau ideal of how little significance are the original inhabitants of a nation which is seemingly the sole model of democracy.
The Native Americans have lost a lot throughout the course of history; and the present is trying its best to sweep away the remnants of what is theirs. Respect the treaties. Water is life.