The Dakota Access Pipeline has finally been getting the attention it deserves. The media is reporting from the protests, information has been flooding online forums and high-profile actors have been voicing their support for protesters.
But with the current political and societal state of the country, this attention is even more important to talk about.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he want to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency – something extremely concerning when the proposed pipeline could very well pollute the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and ruin the drinking water of many, including that of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Tribe’s sacred land is also in danger of being destroyed, and some sites have already been bulldozed.
What is most concerning about the protests is the recent report by the United Nations, stating the police and private forces have been “inhumane and degrading” to those arrested at the protest.
The protesters, who are made up of the largest gathering of Native American tribes in recent history, have been subjected to rubber bullets, attack dogs, mace, tear gas, compression grenades and beanbag rounds, according to the report, and hundreds more have been arrested despite peacefully protesting.
The U.N. official’s report found, once arrested, the protesters were humiliated as they were marked with numbers and detained “in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care.”
The treatment of Native Americans in U.S. is horrific and deplorable, and the actions security forces have taken – private or public – don’t invoke much hope that a lot has changed.
Actors like Shailene Woodley and Marc Ruffalo have spoken about and attended the protest, and Woodley livestreamed herself being arrested along with other indigenous people.
It is vital to not stop talking about this protest.
If it is impossible for you to go to the protest, take advantage of social media to spread awareness. With social media campaigns pushing for people to tweet or type out their support with #StandWithStandingRock or #NoDAPL, it is easy to find a platform on which to speak.
Additionally, on Tuesday, over 200 protests are planned across the country, including in front of the Army Corps of Engineers offices’, federal buildings and banks that financed the Energy Transfer Partners’ push for the pipeline, according to the Associated Press.
This is a pivotal time for the future of both our nation and our planet. There is so much pain and anger in the hearts of people across the U.S., and it’s important to stand together to demand change.
The rights of indigenous people are in jeopardy.
The creation of this pipeline would be extremely detrimental to the environment.
The continuing issue of police brutality is startling and concerning.
This is not a time to sit back and forget about how far the protesters have come since the spring – it’s a time to make your voice heard. What will you say?