I haven’t written or posted a lot about Standing Rock, but I have been watching and listening and being concerned. It’s hard to bring my thoughts to any coherence right now (and my computer is being slow and uncooperative), but there are a few things that I’m mainly concerned about.
First, recent reports have had law enforcement using water cannons on people during freezing weather. That’s endangering people’s lives. Law enforcement says it’s justified because people were trying to remove barricades that they wanted to remain in place. I think they could find a better way. Also, I thought we decided a while ago that fire hoses and dogs shouldn’t be used on people
(yes, they’ve also been using dogs).
Mr. Archambault said the best way to protect demonstrators during the winter and to reduce conflicts with the police “is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing and deny it now.” (The New York Times, November 26, 2016)
The people in the camp have not asked for such “protection.” They are asking for a halt to the pipeline project. They are willing to stay during the winter months if necessary. An eviction is going to provoke more violence, not prevent it.
Finally, this is about more than just protesting a pipeline, or even about protecting water. It’s also about our reliance on oil. We wouldn’t be bothering about pipelines if our current lifestyle wasn’t dependent on oil. And we need to fix that. Except not today, because I’m driving to visit friends and I’ve been driving my kids and their friends around a lot.
What can we do? I think it’s important to listen to the native people. Here’s what they’re asking for: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/getinvolved