Standing Rock : We Cannot Simply Sit By

After the events in North Dakota it has become obvious (if it wasn’t obvious before) that there is little to no regard for Native American (human) life. If you were not aware, since April 2016 the Native American Sioux tribe has been standing in solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline that would span across four different states if completed. This pipeline has been impending for years now, but it wasn’t until recently that construction has begun. All of the legal routes taken to avoid this have been unsuccessful. Part of the worry that spurred this protest is because of the proximity to the reservation in North Dakota -the pipeline is reportedly less than one half of a mile away from the border. Not only this, but the pipeline is said to also run along different sacred ancestral sites. As per federal law, consultation with the tribe is required before moving forward with such a project. This essential step is said to have not happened.

In the initial planning stages there were two routes that were proposed, one Northern, and another Southern. The Northern route would have been closer to the city of Bismarck, but there was an environmental concern about possible water contamination -this same concern was not expressed when the Southern route was approved. On the map drawn up for possible routes, the existence of the Tribal Reservation of the Sioux people was not included and the possible risks and the possible destruction of history is being disregarded for the pursuit of economic wealth.

Energy Transfer Partners is dismissive of the the concerns from the entire Native American community, and claim that building this pipeline is a safer alternative. However, pipelines are not impervious to environmental factors and hazards. Many pipelines have already broken all over the country. To build an oil pipeline underneath the Missouri lake would open up the possible contamination and destruction of a major water source for the Sioux people. This is part of the struggle for a larger picture. It is not just about what is happening now, but how these actions will have a bigger impact on the world in the future. The continuous disregard for an entire people, for the history of an entire people, is harming how we see others (not as people). It is also harming how we view the world (as an infinite thing here to solely serve us no matter the abuse it endures from human carelessness).

The protesters are “Water Protectors.” This is my brother.

This month, November, on the night of the 20th, the protesters at Standing Rock were fired on with water cannons in weather that was below freezing. My brother was there that night. My brother told me about the teargas. My brother told me about how the scarf I had knitted for him two Christmases ago protected him from some of the harm. I felt in me how harsh this world is and how we must do something. We are falling into decay, we are falling into a world that is devoid of love and understanding and seeking. The militarized police force at Standing Rock have used rubber bullets, tear gas, mace, compression grenades, beanbag rounds, and water cannons on these unarmed protectors.

I have been weeping, my heart is weeping. I wake up and the first thing I think is that I must do something. It would be so much easier to do nothing. It would be so much easier to sit off to the side and ignore what is happening and continue on with my life, but it would not be right. I want to secure a future where we can all live in security, safety, love, and respect. This is not the future we are going towards currently. Our ideals, our hopes, our dreams are giving shape to a toxic future that will only destroy us. This impending future will destroy this planet and it will take away the soft smiles of small blooming life -the giggles of experience bubbling up on blushing lips will be smothered under the smog of selfishness. This is the time when we must invest more than we could ever imagine into cultivating a better world. An honest world. A world that is not doomed to a harsh end.

As a people we cannot simply allow for such injustices to be handed off to us as “necessary acts” for “law and order” because they are not necessary and this is not order. As a country we have fallen into apathy and we sit around in our little homes isolating ourselves and consuming-consuming-consuming. We drink, we take drugs, we watch television because we know no other way to fill our time. This is why this is important. We have been taught how to not feel or care for the injustices that surround us everyday. We cannot sit idly by any longer. This is why this is important.

To say that this is “funny” is to declare nihilism. We must see the seriousness of these events and we must act or else all meaning will be drawn out of the world and we will be empty of all sensation. Our bodies are fading to the cold and empty comforts around us -nothing more but an empty life.

Listen.

After speaking to my brother he told me that some of the things they need the most at Standing Rock are…:

  • Fire (lighters and etc)
  • Meat
  • Tobacco
  • Headlamps
  • Light (!!!)
  • Electrical heater
  • Solar panel
  • Rope
  • Soap

I am spending this ‘holiday’ far from comfort and I am standing with the people who are fighting for and care for something we have forgotten about. We must wake up and be reminded of the world or else we will lose the world. Please help us in any way you can and do not fall into hopelessness. There is always something that can be done. If you are interested in joining us or helping provide supplies, please email me: jlboldt@outlook.com

To Help Contribute to Standing Rock Fund:

Official Website (with where to send things as well as other useful information)

For further reading and education:

The Battle at Standing Rock

The Standing Rock Resistance Is Unprecedented (It’s Also Centuries Old)

Police deploy water hoses, tear gas against Standing Rock protesters

7 history lessons that help explain the Dakota Access Pipeline protests

The Standing Rock protests are a taste of things to come

Dakota Access pipeline protester ‘may lose her arm’ after police standoff

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2 thoughts on “Standing Rock : We Cannot Simply Sit By

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