The American Indian world will never be the same. For centuries the First Americans were expediently removed from the landscape by federal government notions such as Eminent Domain, then further, their homeland was diminished by the Allotment Act. This steadily shoved the Tribes into debilitating circumstances, which they suffer from and endure to this day.
Suddenly out of one more story of purely tainted dealings with the federal government comes a beautiful happening of pride and resolve. Not only by Indians but typical Americans that understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown was published in 1970. It was the first real presentation of the political and social genocide the United States government has undertaken against Native people. It was written and based on historical fact. The New York Times assessment of the book was, “ Original, Remarkable, and Finally Heartbreaking.” The Washington Post review exclaimed, “ Appalling, Shattering, Compelling, …. One wonders reading this searing, heartbreaking book, who, indeed, were the savages.”
Nothing much has changed for Indian Nations and their tribal members since Dee Brown’s book was written 46 years ago. Nothing—until just recently! For some unexplainable reason, the book has miraculously come to life near a small Indian village in North Dakota, called Cannon Ball.
In live and living color, just as the book revealed tragic treatment of Indian Nations in chapter after chapter, comes Tribal Nation after Tribal Nation announcing their arrival to the “ Spirit Camp.” Here throngs of water and land protectors are gathering in a fight against corporate greed.Accounts of injustices and struggles in Indian country echoes throughout the camp and serves to strengthen the resolve to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. “I want to cheer and cry I’m so happy to see the support that arrives daily and hourly,” said Chairman of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault II.
The words to describe the happening are hard to find. Never in the history of the America’s has so many Tribes come together is such a unified way. This joining is about expressing solidarity in behalf of Mother Earth and to also condemn the number one enemy of Mother Earth—Greed.
It is here beside the Cannonball & Missouri Rivers, that it appears the world is watching. It is here, that the Standing Rock Sioux have drawn the line against a history of crooked dealings and disrespect for all Native rights.
The encampment of demonstrators is now two and almost three times as big as the Tribe’s largest community of Fort Yates. The demonstrators are coming in from every State of the Union and abroad. This is anticipated to push a number around 8,000 for the third weekend of September.
By and large the campers are in a sort of joyous frame of mind because they do feel so positive about their unity of mind and spirit. There is a small element of hot aggression toward the pipeline owners and their intent, but virtually everybody is in tune with the Chairman’s continual request to remain cool, calm, collected, and most of all prayerful." If this turns somehow violent, we lose and they win. Energy Transfer Partners and their supporters are the aggressors. They have come into our homeland, they have desecrated a scared site and want to threaten our land and water with their pollution,” states the leader of Sitting Bull’s people.
In the meantime, Kelcy Warren has pledged his commitment to build the pipeline. Kelcy Warren is the smiling 7.3 billionaire pipeline barren, who is ultimately responsible for ordering the bulldozing of the sacred site evidence that would probably have stopped the pipeline. He is the arrogant commander and chief of the piping show, who is eventually responsible for the hiring of mercenaries to sic attack dogs on and mace the demonstrators.
Nonetheless and in turn, the huge camp of protectors is responsible for successfully stopping Mr. Warren’s money making baby, so he plans on traveling to Washington to straighten out the pesky Indian hindrance matters. So skilled is smiling Kelcy in his hoodwinking trade, that he has a good chance of swaying the Departments of Justice and Interior and the Army with his propaganda of the dire need of the so called “lawful” pipeline. He will say, “People, this pipeline is in the best interest of national security and oil independence.It is important to our oil infrastructure.”
In reality, America doesn’t need another pipeline for its decaying and breaching oil infrastructure. Right now oil “IS” being transported to meet the Nation’s needs. It’s construction is another bag of gold that will break the donkey’s back.In a memo to his employees, and his gullible money-crazed investors, he says, “There has been an enormous amount of misinformation….and you are our best ambassadors to the public …. contact your elected representatives … tell them how important it is to your livelihood.”
What a pile of bull manure, Eh! His memo is a desperate plea to his supporters. He calls to people that see a selfish benefit for themselves but people who forget or ignore the detriment to America’s future. People who would turn their backs on their own grandchildren.
In so many beautiful and wonderful ways, smiling Kelcy and his Energy Transfer Partners have brought the demonstration encampment together. Strangely, their deceitfulness has allowed for the indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and of the world, to assert themselves: ‘We are still here … through it all, we are still here.’
In the words of Lawrence O’Donnel, when contemplating the power, the mystery, the conundrum of the gathering at the Cannonball River, Mr. O’Donnel says, “they are here and I believe they have survived ... because they have an extraordinary strength … the reason I am mystified by their survival … using my tools and my understanding of how life works … I couldn’t have survived under those circumstances and the people I know could not have survived under those circumstances.”
‘We are still here!’
If the Tribe’s and the protectors can be successful in permanently stopping the DAPL pipeline, it would be a wonderful sign that America has turned the corner on thinking about and changing the existing ruinous direction and behavior that oil pipelines represent.
Dave Archambault Sr., is best known as the Indian School Whisper, aka Joe Bucking Horse. He has been a voice for future generations by advocating empowerment schooling models for Indian learners of all ages. He earned a masters degree from Penn State and has headed the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian College Fund, Sitting Bull College, with experience as Tribal Councilman, School Superintendent, Principal, and currently sits on a BIE grant school and Fort Yates public school board, and is the chairman of the Board for the American Indian Business Leaders organization.