On September 13th 2016 there was a huge rally by activists in front of the White House to urge the US government to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Standing Rock tribe and their allies are against this Dallas Access pipeline project, which has been put on hold by the government for the time being. Here are some facts about this project.
What is Standing Rock Sioux Reservation?
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The term refers to the people of the Dakota and Lakota regions. These people have their own distinct culture and language. They have their own council for taking major financial and legislative decisions.
What is the controversy about?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made use of Permit 12 which is a fast track option and approved the pipeline. According to certain reports the tribe claims that the government did not consult them before taking the rushed decision. According to the tribe, the construction of the pipeline will result in the digging up of several of their sacred sites.
The pipeline, which is expected to transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily was first to be constructed at Missouri near Bismark. But there was a threat that in case of an oil spill the State Capital’s drinking water would get affected. Therefore it was decided to have it close to Standing Rock Reservation.
Why is the tribe worried?
The tribe is worried and opposing the construction because the pipeline seems to be a threat to their water,their heritage and their lives. The pipeline is going to be very close to the tribe’s reservation water boundary. Therefore if there is an oil spill, then the tribe’s water will get affected adversely. The pipeline will pass through several sacred sites and burials of the tribe. These places have lots of cultural significance for the tribe.
The treatment meted out to the Native Americans
The Native Americans who are the original inhabitants of this land are always said to have been given a secondary treatment. As per certain reports, the Native Americans who have joined the protests are being arrested on the pretext of trespassing.
There may have been violation of rules
As per certain reports the company who is behind this project, that is Energy Transfer Partners and certain people from the government have joined together over the pipeline route and have filled up their pockets. The construction of the pipeline on the land of the Army Corps of Engineers began without even getting the easement,which according to law is mandatory. There are also reports which claim that farmers and landowners have been forced to give up their lands for the project.
Acts of violence
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There are several reports of violence at the site of protests. But it looks like these acts are not carried out by the protestors. It is mainly the pipeline police, which is involved in these acts of violence. Mass arrests, use of mass crowd dispersal weapons which could hurt the people’s hearing,use of armoured cars,MRAP’S with snipers by the military like police etc are very common.
What stand media has taken?
Independent media is primarily responsible for letting the world know about the ongoing struggle at Standing Rock. Several such journalists have been arrested for recording the acts of violence. The corporate media has so far been watching everything silently.
For the time being the construction of pipeline has been halted at the controversial place. But it continues in other sections