Photo Credit: Allie Fredericks
In perhaps the most notable Native American action since 1973’s Wounded Knee, tribes from across the country (and Canada) are gathering at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. A half-built pipeline, stretching from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois, is slated to
cross the reservation cross the Missouri River a half mile upstream from Standing Rock lands.
The Blackfeet Nation from Montana and Canada, and Montana’s Northern Cheyenne were some of the first tribes to show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. From Indian Country Today Media Network:
“As Indian People, we must continue to fight for the preservation of our water, land and all that affects our traditional way of life,” Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Chairman Harry Barnes wrote in a letter of support. “All this affects our people now and the future generations after us.” … the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council passed a resolution noting that its own ancient sites—villages and burial grounds—were threatened by the Dakota Access pipeline. The tribe “fully supports the effort of the Oceti Sakowin and all Missouri River Tribes to stop all construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will have a direct impact on the land held in reverence by all tribes with a direct connection to the land,” the tribe said.
I’m sure other Montana tribes will be weighing in.
The mainstream media are finally paying attention (now that celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Susan Sarandon are getting involved).
I’ve received a flurry of emails, some from Missoula Democrats, some from statewide Democratic Party members, some from people and organizations linked to Bernie Sanders’ campaign, asking support for the Standing Rock Sioux protest. Here are just a few of the sites I’ve been asked to visit:
And there’s a go fund me page that has already raised over $200,000:
It will be interesting to see how Montana political leadership responds. Of course, the Republican Party doesn’t give a shit about North Dakota Sioux but Democratic Party leaders tread a finer line. There’s the labor/energy sector that Democrats can’t afford to piss off, and the Native population that the party needs to turn out in big numbers in hopes of winning statewide races. I imagine the governor will stay mum on the issue but congress seeker Denise Juneau, a Mandan and Hidatsa, will be hard pressed not to comment.
My comment, and that of progressives I’ve been in touch with, is: we stand with Standing Rock.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this. It’s seldom that a television commentator speaks truth to power. Here’s an exception:
UPDATE: Please read DGF’s comment, below, for more insight into the protest.