The Dakota Access Pipeline is something I must speak to.
This pipeline is heartbreaking and terrifying to me.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about pipelines lately. I recently realized that the “pipeline” that growing up was just the word for a clear track of land at the end of the road I grew up on where I would go to walk the dog, is in fact a pipeline that transports natural gas and is now set to be converted to move oil. Now, I can’t tell you why it took me this long for the reality of the pipeline I grew up with to hit me, but I can tell you how it haunts me. I picture myself as a child walking with my dog running ahead of me to the pipeline only to find a spill. I picture the cows on the farm I lived next to walking in a creek now polluted with oil. I picture the deer, coyotes and other creatures that use the corridor created by the pipeline confused and coated by oil as they searched for food and water.
The idea of a pipeline running under the Missouri River which will lead to a spill is something I cannot even imagine. Because it will spill. Maybe not in the first year, or the first five years or the first ten years but one day it will. And there will be death and destruction.
This pipeline is also contributing to the systemic destruction of a culture and sovereign nation. This pipeline is being developed on Lakota Treaty Territory. This includes culturally significant land that would never be the same and is worth no amount of potential revenue from this pipeline. This pipeline is ignoring the right of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to determine how their land is used. They have very clearly spoken. It is time others listened.
To some this may seem like just another pipeline. Just another protest. Just another hashtag. And it may be if we don’t stand. The Scared Stone Camp is filled with protectors from across Turtle Island. Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks. This could be a turning moment. This is a moment for the US government to do the right thing. This is a moment for self-proclaimed allies to do the right thing. This is a moment to start building a new future. A future with less pipeline and more clean water. A future in which Indigenous peoples’ rights are respected. A future without ongoing colonization and genocide. A future that won’t make us look back and wonder “What the Hell were we thinking?”
I hope with every aspect of my being, this moment won’t pass without change.
I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Sacred Stone Camp.