The construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues to spark protests from the Standing Rock Sioux. Now that the construction is almost three-quarters of the way done, tribes from all over the country and people in support of NoDAPL have gathered to aid Standing Rock Sioux in their fight.
This protest was brought to life at FSU on Nov. 2 in the McAuliffe Center, when Vandana Singh, chair of the physics department, led a talk about how the revolution of NoDAPL highlighted the issues over resources and fossil fuels.
Meredith Marchioni, environmental sociologist, Irene Porro, director of the McAuliffe Center, and Rebecca Hawk, United Nations indigenous people representative and director of community Education and English Language Programs, were also present.
Before the discussion, three videos were shown capturing the abuse protesters received from the Morton County police and the national guard, who were there on behalf of the pipeline company. Men and women were chased by police dogs, kicked by officers, pepper sprayed and tased for stepping too close to construction sites, and were pushed out of their homes.
Hawk said, the federal government, who guarantees the right of consolation under the tribe’s treaty, is not the one approving these processes. In fact, the state’s legislation is giving permission to the company. The issue of the environmental review is unjust, she said.
The federal government has its “hands up” because it does not want to cause legal issues under the treaty, and since the state says it has control over the land, it is legally able to go through with the construction process, said Hawk.
Marchioni said, within five seconds of watching the second video she saw someone she knew from the Chilkat Alaskan Village. She explained their village has been dealing with a number of problems themselves.
The state has recently built a road, and because of an increase of tourism, is considering widening it. Everything that comes off of the road ends up in the Chilkat River which affects the salmon.
A mine is also being built above the village, which in turn also affects the salmon population.
Marchioni said she was surprised to see them there even after all their struggles, adding “they took the time to travel across the country, probably farther than anybody else to get to Standing Rock, and brought a canoe with them to show how important these resources are. Even if they’re not their direct resources, there’s still this attachment to the land.”
Singh said, “It’s the largest gathering of Native Americans” in 100 years.
Singh discussed how the effects we are seeing with the planet changing, the weather becoming abnormal, instances of super storms, tropical disease moving northward and sea levels rising are all due to this over-consumption of fossil fuels.
Porro asked how we will change as a civilization to come up with solutions to climate change.
She recalled when President John F. Kennedy addressed the idea of going to the moon.
Pollo quoted Kennedy, saying “We choose to go to the moon and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
“We need to be more creative,” Porro said. “We were able to go to the moon in a very short period of time because they were creative, because they put their mind to it. We have this incredible power called creativity. I think sometimes we forget that. Let’s find alternative solutions. Let’s do this not because it was easy, but because it’s hard.”