Billy Mills, a 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, visited the Standing Rock Reservation over the weekend to show support for the youth, leadership and any others who stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition to the Energy Transfer Company’s Bakken Oil Pipeline, also called the Dakota Access pipeline.
In his message to the people, Mills expresses his sincere respect and appreciation for the leadership of Standing Rock, including Chairman Dave Archambault II, Jodi Archambault-Gillette, and Dave Archambault Sr.
Mills then incorporates his interpretation of a broader historical context which has led to the situation at hand. He notes that due to the sweeping legacy of injustice brought forth through manifest destiny, broken treaties, and white privilege, the rights of Native American people have been undermined and devalued in the American legal system.
As a man of both Native American and white American descent, Mills says that he has both benefited from and been hurt by the invisible force of white privilege. With the gentle tone and spirit of camaraderie that Mills always puts forth, he expresses his wish for Native American children to be afforded the same opportunities as other Americans and to be empowered by information that most schools aren’t teaching.