It’s hard to articulate what has happened and is still happening to the Native American population.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, his scout, Drew Wrigley, and his alter-ego, Kevin Cramer, are either disconnected from the reality of what is happening at Standing Rock or are simply too uninformed or too cowardly to act in a responsible leadership role.
Philip Strobel is program director of National Environmental Protection Act in the Region 8 Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Ecosystems Protection. In March, he asked for an updating of the draft environmental assessment — that it be revised to assess potential impacts to drinking water and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as well as additional concerns over environmental justice and the emergency response actions in case of oil spills and leaks. Based on the importance of these concerns, he recommended a revised draft.
The Native Americans of Standing Rock prepared a list and filed it. It showed where graves, sacred sites and artifacts were located on the land in question.
On Saturday (Sept. 3), a group of men, women and children walked on foot to the original protest site. And guess what!
The Dakota Access Pipeline people had seen their list of sacred sites … and sent out a work crew, with no notice to anyone and on a holiday weekend, to bulldoze the earth. Their crew destroyed the graves and sacred sites that had been identified in the tribe’s report to create the path for the pipe to be laid right across them!
The tribe had no notice this was going to happen or that, in fact, the destruction was under way. When they came upon the scene, with trucks and bulldozers in motion, you can imagine their hurt, anger and outrage at what was happening to their sacred lands.
You can bet the farm they walked up to the fence — over, under and around it — to protest the destruction. Men, women and children demanded that they stop.
What did the agents of the Three Mouseketeers (Dalrymple, Wrigley and Cramer) do? I saw the video shot by witnesses: What they did was mace or pepper spray the Natives and bring out attack dogs without warning. The dogs bit everything in sight (including their handlers). One bit a horse and was rewarded with a kick to its body that sent said dog to the vet hospital.
The handlers couldn’t control those dogs. Unlike well-trained police with their equally trained K-9s, these boneheads created a panic with their uncontrolled shepherds and pit bulls. Unlike other breeds, when a pit bull bites, it doesn’t release, which is why you don’t see law enforcement use them.
In the hands of rogue, untrained security people, these animals are weapons. The security staff were not authorized to use weapons. If I’d scan the laws carefully, I think I could come up with authority to charge them.
There are legal cases across this country where dogs have been held to be deadly weapons and the owners held responsible. Police dogs are an exception; otherwise, I’ve seen no authority that would allow these rent-a-cops to turn their animals loose on the Native Americans.
Since North Dakota’s cowardly mainstream media, including the state’s largest newspaper, have not reported on these events in any meaningful way, I have searched national newspapers, TV media, the Native American news outlets and witnesses who were there Saturday to obtain the information we need to understand.
Once again, I note, the governor, lieutenant governor and our lone U.S. congressman have done nothing but throw more gasoline on the flames of bigotry and injustice. In statements and interviews, they are calling the protectors “lawbreakers, thugs and criminals,” turning a blind eye (or one that’s simply uninformed) to the plight the tribes are in.
The courts will rule on some parts of this standoff this week. In the meantime, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an emergency motion Sunday (Sept. 4) to block further construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The oil companies know exactly what they are doing. They’ve taken a page out of the Trump “Bully’s Playbook” and are trying to run roughshod over our Original Americans. The state’s three top government individuals to whom I’ve referred, being supporters of the world’s most dangerous man, are happy to let them do it.
Word went out during the protest that a government helicopter was in the air. If that’s correct, why wasn’t local law enforcement called in to maintain the peace and corral the nut jobs with the vicious dogs? On the other hand, if local law enforcement didn’t know what the oil company was doing, perhaps they should bring in someone with the brains god gave a goat to monitor the situation — and to serve and protect “everyone”?
Of course, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven was also an outspoken supporter of TransCanada and its now-failed Keystone XL pipeline, as well as this comparable line by Energy Transfer Partners of Texas. I suppose the fact that he has a personal investment in 68 different oil-producing wells under the auspices of Mainstream Investors LLC has something to do with it.
According to his most recent congressional personal financial disclosure form — one-fourth of them within 18 miles of the terminal of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Watford City.
Do you suppose that might influence his position? (Go ahead — at this point, either choke or gasp, as you wish.)
Hoeven is also a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. It is supposed to ensure tribal concerns are heard and adequately addressed. Sen. Hoeven’s representative says he makes his decisions based solely on merit! Native lands vs. Big Oil? Hmm, it would appear that he should get off Indian Affairs and go directly to the Committee on Shills for the Oil Industry.
This is all about Standing Rock and Native American issues: protecting their rights, their traditions, their religious beliefs from encroachment and — in far too many cases — destruction of their way of life.
Ask yourself: What would you do if it were your home, farmstead, the burial site of your ancestors’ remains, your sacred relics, your only water supply, and everything you deemed as essential to your life … and a foreign power came in to destroy it?
Now ask yourself what you would do if you were Native American. That very scenario exists.
The Native Americans have had much more patience than I would, considering what they’ve had to endure and put up with. The fact that Indian Nations from all across this country are backing our North Dakota and South Dakota tribes ought to send a message to our leaders (if, in fact, you can find any here) that they must put the brakes on this pipeline until a route can be found to avoid Native lands.
I am so proud of the self-control the tribes have maintained while these political ambushes continue. The God I honor, and the Spirits and God they honor, too, know their cause is right. The non-natives pushing this misguided plan would do well to consult their own God, instead of their bank accounts. Then this patriotic action by the Water Protectors will succeed. Amen.