Oil and Native Americans


 

The protests continue over the pipeline in North Dakota.

South of Bismarck, North Dakota (CNN)

The standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline is heating up, and protesters say they won’t back down.

On Friday, authorities provided details of the violence that boiled over a day earlier as police in riot gear faced off with protesters on horseback.

Protesters set fire to nine vehicles, construction equipment and debris on a bridge, resulting in the closure of Highway 1806, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office said. A woman being arrested pulled a pistol from her waistband and fired shots, but she didn’t hit anybody.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails, water bottles and logs at officers but no serious injuries were reported.

 

Image result for dakota pipeline map reservation

 

A court decision allowing construction of the $3.7 billion pipeline across four states hasn’t dampened demonstrators’ furor over the project. The developer calls it an economic boon that will make the United States less dependent on imported oil. But protesters say it threatens the environment and will destroy Native American burial and prayer sites as well as artifacts.

 

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We have the strangest relationship with Native American culture.  It’s stranger that the relationship of mainstream society with any other minority group.
 
I might offend some Native folks, but here goes.
In movies and TV, the only spirituality is those of Native Americans.  I think that’s a backhanded insult, as it’s unlikely the Native American views of God will catch on.  For this reason, it’s “safe” for scriptwriters to include native religious themes.  Need magic? Enlightenment?  Get an indigenous actor and go on a spirit quest! 
Back in real life, I truly don’t know if the pipeline is a good idea, but do folks realize it does not actually go through a reservation? I admit, it runs right by it, and I’d be concerned too. The actual landowners in the path of the pipe are being compensated and they are 100% on board. The argument has been propped up with some verbal judo.
Any water you drink is sacred.  In case of a spill, theirs would get dirty.  Again, sacred seemingly only applies to Native Americans, just as the only prophet ever mentioned is Mohammed.
I’m also hearing about ‘ancestral lands.’  It’s an impertinent question, but do Native Americans have veto rights over building on lands their ancestors used to roam?  When did that law pass?  And prayer sights?  Veto power there too?
There’s been some mention of burial plots.  That concerns me.  I don’t want my grandfather dug up for a freeway, but I’ll bet that sort of thing happens all the time.  If the crews find any bones, I’ll bet you that digging stops.  There are some laws in place, but I’m no lawyer.  Archaeologists are brought in, the whole thing puts on hold until a plan is worked out.  In fact, if the Native Americans were cagey, they’s dig up…  Never mind.
This project has passed environmental muster with the federal government, during the Obama administration.  The state environmental people also agree to it.  Somehow that sounds like a high bar.  
Native Americans got screwed by white people.  I get it. But not by these white people. Not me, not you and not the oil company.  
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9 thoughts on “Oil and Native Americans

  1. librarygryffon

    I read somewhere that over 1000 changes were made to the initial planned route of the pipeline to accommodate the avoidance of sacred lands and burial sites and at some point the finalized route had been signed off on by the tribes involved.

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    1. LLC

      There’s truth to what you say, but you’re missing several major things.

      The biggest missing element is that the Standing Rock tribe generally refused consultation, to the point of actively avoiding it. Basically, they sat on their hands and played stupid games during almost the entire consultation process – time when other tribes spoke up (140+ changes in the pipeline route in North Dakota alone) to ensure there weren’t problems, then resorted to lawsuits after construction started.

      Good reads on the subject are a judge’s ruling from September denying an injunction against the pipeline: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/order-denying-PI.pdf

      And a full timeline of events: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bKBWD8yEq3sw82_SOXxtjAEM9-wm2Yj99CnZBUtMx2M/

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. librarygryffon

        It’s good to have that info so when folks are telling me to support the tribe’s protests I can point out that they had plenty of time to give input into the proposed routes, input which based on what happened when the other tribes spoke up would have been listened to, they just pretended nothing was going to happen. I wonder if they were being given advice by members of various ‘environmental’ groups who want the entire project stopped.

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  2. Perry Mason

    Dear “Native American” professional protestors: And YOU’VE been brutalizing and stealing (and taking slaves) from each other for millennia.

    What’s your point?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Dave Alexander (formerly ukuleledave) Post author

      The difference between feeling and thinking critically, I feel empathy for anybody with a water supply right next to a pipeline. On the other hand, I know there are probably dozens of oil pipelines pretty close to rivers and streams all over the country. In North Carolina, we learned the hard way that Duke Energy had ‘coal ash ponds’ near rivers. One leaked and it was not pretty. No one used the word “sacred” to describe the Dan River.
      http://www.catawbariverkeeper.org/issues/coal-ash-1/duke-energy-dan-river-coal-ash-spill-what-do-we-currently-know-what-do-we-need-to-know/?searchterm=None

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      1. AJ Fornicarius Hoc

        Pipelines are environmentally safer, by far, than tanker trucks, as well as dramatically more efficient. If they tended to leak, neither of these things would be true. This ‘protest’ is about money. Somebody tried to get paid for nothing, and the pipeline builders said no, so now a bunch of useful idiots have been wrangled into this by a core of cynical profiteers.

        Physically safer to. Oil trains sometimes crash and blow up. — Dave

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LLC

        Their water intake is supposed to be moved 70 miles downstream before the pipeline ever goes operational.

        I assume you mean “upstream,” away from any potential spills. Yeah, going back to my point that in order to get past the feds and the state, and the many other NGOs who knew about this pipeline, it must have taken forever. Folks act like it was a big surprise to the Native Americans. – Dave

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      3. LLC

        Negative, Dave, I meant downstream. The plans to move the water intake go all the way back to (I think) 2003, one of the last droughts in North Dakota. The intake is being moved to one of the deepest spots in the river, across the border in South Dakota.

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  3. one handle and stick to it

    Since “native Americans” had no concept of property or property rights, I’m amused whenever libs try to talk about “their” ancestral land, thus appealing to those “evil Western ethnocentric ideas” of, you guessed it, PROPERTY and PROPERTY RIGHTS.
    Moral of the Story: Multiculturalism goes out the window the moment it cuts against lib pie-in-the-sky ideals. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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