Remember the old saying, “Finders keepers, losers weepers?” Well, thanks to Christopher Columbus and other cruel Europeans, the finders are now the ones weeping.
Currently, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is being built on sacred grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The pipe was supposed to be built in a different part of the state with a prosperous community on top of it but changed its location because, according to People Magazine, “it was moved to a reservation when it was decided that a break in the pipeline may damage their water supply.”
God forbid some white Americans’ water supply is harmed, but people don’t bat an eye if the Native Americans’ water is negatively affected.
According to Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, “The pipeline would adversely affect not only the security and access to drinking water of the Sioux and millions of people living downstream of the Missouri River, but it would also destroy archaeological, historical and sacred sites of the Sioux.”
At a protest fighting against the DAPL, actress Shailene Woodley spoke out about this issue and was not shy about expressing her feelings toward the neglect Americans have for the way the holiday Thanksgiving was created.
She got emotional when she said, “From the time we’re little kids, we cut out cardboard paper pictures of pilgrims and feasts and turkeys, and yet none of our children know the truth about not only what happened to Native Americans when Westerners decided to colonize this country, but what is still happening to Native Americans.”
This problem didn’t end when Christopher Columbus died. Native Americans had their lives taken from them and are currently struggling to hold onto what they have left. We’ve fenced them in and moved our problems to their land because out of sight, out of mind, right?
Among other celebrities, Woodley was arrested for participating in the demonstration on Thanksgiving Day, protesting for all the right reasons.
This pipeline has plans to cross four states, and unfortunately, violence has been a method used to get rid of the water protestors fighting to protect their land. Two miles of Sioux tribe burial grounds were bulldozed, and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department Forces attacked protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures and launched concussion grenades into peaceful crowds. Several protestors had to be treated for hypothermia, and one protester had her arm amputated.
“Land of the Free” seems to be more of a motto than an actual ideal we aim for these days. This problem is real and there’s a way to get involved. Go to change.org and sign the petition in hopes of putting an end to this project.