People, Pipelines, Posterity

“When one believes on a sacred level, one cannot but act! The word here is not protest but protect!”

Kudos to the MSNBC cable news network and host Lawrence O’Donnell for this week’s segment on the continuing Standing Rock, ND stand-off between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and yet another US Army invasion of Native American scared lands. This time its the Army Corps of Engineers who won’t listen.


Photo credits: Rally outside the US District Court in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Tribe, interviewed by O’Donnell, said the Corps of Engineers is ignoring concerns about the oil pipeline’s hazards which threaten water quality for generations to come. In particular, and against treaty agreements, the Corps of Engineers gave a green light to the oil pipeline company, without consultation with the tribe, to proceed with the project.

Though a brief segment, and late in the 10-11 (Easter Time) nightly broadcast, the MSNBC news team at least brought this on-going issue to their viewers on an international scale.

From here in West Michigan, a  Gun Lake Tribe delegation has joined the Standing Rock Tribe in solidarity.

Now, if the networks dare, and if politicians truly want to show concern over water quality, let them all devote as much attention to Standing Rock as it did/does to the Flint, Michigan drinking water contamination crisis.

At the very least, the more press Standing Rock gets, the more we will come to understand that Native American communities are the first and last hope for protecting the future quality of life for all who reside within our borders, and beyond, in solidarity with other indigenous peoples’ efforts on environmental issues.

It truly is all about the “seventh generation” while politicians and corporations don’t think past the next election or stock holder meetings. Dare I say, most of us don’t often think past our next piped-in showers.

Native Americans, who have seen what greed and corruption does to lands and our greatest “national treasure,” our children, are our spokespersons and front line voices willing and ready to take on whatever consequences and retaliation which may, and often does, result from such actions.

Question is, “Is anybody listening?”

Let’s not ignore the nuances here either. While the media often calls events whenever Native Americans stand up as “protests,” these are, in fact, actions motivated by a reverence for life and the inherited, sacred land trust we all should understand and hold.

When one believes on a sacred level, one cannot but act! The word here is not “protest” but “protect”!

Ironically, the only reference to anything Native American in this campaign cycle, by either candidate, has been made by Trump, who caught media attention by referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”

I will save for my next blog, the Donald Trump depiction of illegal immigrants as “rapists and murderers” being  unwitting accurate, not of the more than 11 million undocumented persons here today, but of the “rape and murder” behavior perpetrated against generations of Native Americans by “illegal” immigrant generations from Christopher Columbus’ arrival onward.

Our question is, “Who will stand with Standing Rock, and, yes, the generations to come?”

The Unlikely Student


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