The Final War Between the Takers and the Caretakers
Sioux Standoff at Standing Rock
Marks the Beginning of a New Era
in Land and Water Protection Activism
There is something quite big going on in the Dakotas.
Some have called it the greatest clash between the Native American tribes of the North America and Corporate America ever witnessed in the USA..
Others have labelled this Plains phenomenon an unparalleled movement of grassroots environmental activism and burgeoning people-powered health advocacy. Yet it is but a small groundswell of things to come from the future earthquake being triggered by the Indigenous Peoples of North America.
Truly, if ever there was an epic environmental battleground that was preordained by the heavens, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakotas is it.
Hence, the real question, where it concerns the current Sioux standoff taking place around the areas of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is why has the MSM (mainstream media) paid so little attention? The following excerpt summarizes what has been shaping up around this oil pipeline project during 2016.
“The pipeline has been controversial regarding its necessity, potential harm to the environment, and impact on climate change. A number of Native Americans in Iowa and the Dakotas have opposed the pipeline, including the Meskwaki and several Sioux tribal nations. In August 2016, ReZpect our Water, a group organized on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, brought a petition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C., the tribe sued for an injunction, and a protest has begun at the pipeline site in North Dakota that has drawn national attention.”
A Major Precedent Will Be Set
If the involved Native American Indian reservations are successful in their endeavor to halt the construction of the 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP), they will also lay down an exceedingly important precedent. Before that discussion is taken up, exactly what is the Dakota Access Pipeline and who is building it?
The Dakota Access Pipeline is perhaps the single most aggressive attempt to lay down oil conduits through territories that have heretofore been protected by federal law and many decades of tradition. The business entity that is laying down the DAP — Energy Transfer Partners — has presented the following informational bulletin to the public. This natural gas and propane company is owned by Energy Transfer Equity of Dallas, Texas and the DAPL project is being steadfastly marshaled along by Founder, Chairman and CEO Kelcy Warren.
As the general site plan clearly illustrates, this massive pipeline is passing through a corridor of numerous cities and towns, reservations and townships in four states. Were this project to have been undertaken 50 years ago it would not have been nearly so problematic. Not only are a number of Indian reservations being affected both directly and indirectly, countless communities across the 4 states will be profoundly violated.
In view of the great number of residents who will be deeply impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, the battle lines have been drawn very deeply in the northern Midwestern soil. This ever-intensifying predicament came about for several reasons, but there is one that reigns supreme for both sides of this conflict. The outcome will have a great influence on all future pipeline projects for the foreseeable future. Whatever the direction this project ultimately takes will set the stage for many similar ones throughout the country.
The Oil & Gas Industry rarely loses this kind of fight. Typically they are all over the affected communities like a hawk on a field mouse. In this way they quite fastidiously lay the foundation to expeditiously win all the little battles that must be fought in each and every community so that they will eventually win the war. The oil pipeline companies have had many years of experience in marshaling these projects along; they know exactly what buttons to push economically, and strings to pull politically to accomplish their corporate goals.
Because these pipeline companies almost always get what they want in the end, and rarely lose the right to pursue the biggest projects, they know that the DAPL Project will set a very strong precedent for the third millennium. Therefore, they are working overtime to ensure that this project is executed with minimum disruption. Should the incomparable collaboration of Indigenous Peoples across North America terminate the project the whole playing field as defined by BIG OIL will have changed forever. The stakes have never been higher just as the stakeholders assembling on each side of the divide have never been more powerful and determined.
“War of the Titans” Comes to the Sleepy Central Plains
It is no accident that Lt Col George Armstrong Custer fought and lost the battle at the Battle of the Little Bighorn just across the Dakota border. It is also no quirk of fate that the same Indian tribes are very much resolved in stopping the DAPL Project as those who successfully fought against Custer. The various Lakota people are especially involved as it is their reservation that is now ground zero in the ongoing standoff at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas.
Because this reservation stretches across large swaths of land in two states, it houses two major tribes—the Hunkpapa Lakota (in South Dakota) and the Yanktonai Dakota (in North Dakota). This is where the real tension has been building. That tension revolves around the water and in particular the primary traditional source of water for the reservation—the Missouri River. It is the contention of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the DAP will significantly jeopardize the water source of the reservation to the extent that it cannot be allowed to proceed.
These same Indian tribes have closely monitored the Bakken pipeline project since its inception in 2014. They are being assisted by environmental lawyers and land use attorneys, enviro activists and health advocates from across the nation. They have also been working in solidarity with many other Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas who have had similar problems with pipeline projects. Such conflicts with pipeline companies have become quite common because of where so many reservations are located.
Of course, on the other side of this battlefield there is the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (ETP) This Fortune 500 company is very large, very well invested and intimately connected with the American supermajor oil companies. In this particular regard ETP has the support of some of the largest transnational corporations on the planet.
So, on the one side of this epochal environmental war there are arrayed literally hundreds of Native American Indian tribes from the Western Hemisphere. On the opposite side sits some of the richest and most powerful corporations on Earth. Never before has there ever been such a modern-day clash with so much at stake (water) and so many represented.
Fracking: How it throws fuel on the fire
First it is crucial to understand that it is the proliferation of fracking for oil and gas in this region of the country which has triggered the perceived need for an underground pipeline. Were it not for the nationwide push for energy independence, this dispute would probably not be taking place. In fact North Dakota has enjoyed an economic boom right through much of this Great Recession because of the explosion of fracking operations that have been occurring there.
Secondarily, it is very important to note that fracking is now notorious worldwide for putting water sources at considerable risk. The fracking industry is equally notorious for its cavalier disregard for the protection of the local water supplies. As a matter of industry fact, fracking operations foul the water supplies in a number of ways. This is a separate issue from the pipeline in that the water table can be irreparably damaged by the hydro-fracking itself. Likewise, the groundwater can be tainted very quickly and profoundly if the fracking wastewater management process is not very careful and cautious.
Of course, fracking on land introduces a plethora of chemicals and contaminants, toxins and poisons into the ground and underground water courses which can abound in certain geological formations. Once the fracking injection fluids enter a natural aquifer or water course, the damage is extremely difficult to reverse. Most hydro-fracking companies do not pay nearly enough attention to these matters and walk away from their fracking sites, leaving them in much worse shape than when they first arrived.
Herein lies a major point of contention between the reservation and the pipeline companies. The indigenous peoples have a great reverence for the land and the water. They know that a reasonable quality of life is impossible without clean water and properly managed land. The same Indigenous Peoples have witnessed the destruction that the Oil & Gas Industry has done since the very first wells were drilled.
As a result of this nationwide plight due to the recent uptick in fracking operations commenced everywhere it’s cost-effective, the tribes have come to distrust the whole industry. They rightly perceive that there is an ongoing war between “the takers and the caretakers”. And that the takers have been winning the war because of the growing populations that require the energy that only oil and gas can deliver in ample supply at this point.
This is really about hydro-fracking the land
The Native American Indian tribes are especially aware of the extreme damage that fracking does to the land and the water. Knowing that the Dakota Access Pipeline will be laid right under the Missouri River is dangerous enough to one of the most important arteries of fresh water in America. However, it is the pervasive hydro-fracking that is now being conducted all over the Midwest and elsewhere that really worries them.
The many scientific reports that have been filed with the EPA and state authorities have been quite clear about the damage that various water bodies and courses have already sustained. More significantly, it is the water table in the many communities that is the most vulnerable to fracking chemicals injected at the extraction sites and the mismanagement of the radioactive wastewater. The Indian reservations are particularly sensitive to these abuses of their natural resources; after all, they cannot just pick up and leave. The numerous reservations and other smaller tribal communities are wedded to the specific tracts of land legislated by the U.S. Federal Government.
The GreenMedInfo Research Group has published various studies like the one above which have proved the case about the inherent dangers of the radioactive wastewater. The carcinogenic properties of this wastewater are especially concerning to the many tribes whose communities have been affected by fracking. Although the Oil & Gas Industry likes to refer to it as “natural gas”, such a volatile hydrocarbon is far from natural, as in healthy and wholesome.
As a matter of fact, a Standing Rock Sioux pediatrician has gone so far as to assert that the “Threat from Fracking Chemicals is “Environmental Genocide”. There is now a whole generation of Native American physicians and attorneys who are much more aware of the science and the law, respectively, where it concerns their human rights and civil rights. Many of them have coalesced around the necessity of rejecting the slow-motion genocide that will surely take place if the tribes do not stand firm against the DAP and ever-expanding fracking operations.
The Indigenous Peoples Have Finally Learned
Perhaps the most important aspect of this ongoing protest movement at Standing Rock is that the Indian tribes all over the USA are finding their voice. Many of them now live on reservations which have the highest rate of suicide, the highest incidence of alcoholism and drug abuse, the highest levels of long-term unemployment and short-term joblessness, the highest number of divorces and single parent households. The list goes on and on.
What Standing Rock has provided is a noble cause around which the Indian tribes can rally. It has given many who lack direction and/or have become apathetic a new mission in life. They now have centuries of history to look back upon, and it is evident more than ever that the promises have never been kept. Why, then, would the recent assurances by pipeline companies be any more trustworthy than those of the past?
The whole country has witnessed a spate of oil spills on land and in the territorial waters. The BP Gulf oil spill, perhaps the worst ever in this hemisphere, shows that companies will often “operate to failure”. Furthermore, the considerable uptick in hydro-fracking has left many communities with serious drinking water problems, some of which may never be solved. Likewise, the state of Oklahoma has experienced so many drilling related earthquakes that operations have been suspended. The Indigenous Peoples know that when the Earth moves and cracks, it is sending a message.
What the Indian communities have really learned is that their unique role in American society is to serve as stewards of the sacred land and the precious waters. That sacred duty is paramount at this critical juncture of human history. For if the lands become so fouled and the waters so polluted, life will become unsustainable. The unequalled clash at Standing Rock is simply bringing this reality into stark relief.
Lest the reader doubt that a modern-day “War between the Takers and the Caretakers” is shaping up, they need look no further than the hundreds of acres of tents that are dotting the landscape in and around Standing Rock. This collective show of unity of purpose, common cause and unshakable resolve will define a whole generation as Woodstock did for the Baby Boomers.
Not only that, Standing Rock is also providing an impetus for Indian reservations all over North and South America to take back their power from the U.S. Federal Government. Against their will the Native Americans were forced into these reservations; now it is time for them to leave the reservations, especially the “reservation” of limited thinking that has been foisted on them by the US government. The victory that they will experience at Standing Rock will carry them forward to the four corners of the United States of America whereby they can embolden other communities to take the necessary stands against unbridled fracking.
The lessons of the past have not been learned
The 2016 protest at Standing Rock is representative of a much larger global movement. The global Oil & Gas Industry has always gotten its way virtually anywhere and anytime over the past 85 years. Nations have seen vast swaths of countryside irreparably laid to waste by oil drilling rigs. Unsuspecting communities have seen their water supplies irreversibly contaminated by hydro-fracking the land. Coastlines everywhere have been sullied by tar balls and oil slicks by oil spills in the territorial waters.
In the wake of the BP Gulf oil spill, many thought there would be a sea change within the realm of oil spill response worldwide. Here in the USA the Coast Guard has kept in place the very same flawed standard operation procedures in the instance of a new spill. It was as though nothing ever happened in the Macondo Prospect on April of 2010. As a matter of fact, the new mantra coming from many quarters is “Drill, Baby Drill!”
This devolving predicament is coming to a head at Standing Rock, for this protest site is much more about a clash of civilizations—one modern and one ancient. The forces behind the many and diverse groups which have assembled there all share the same philosophy of life. That includes a deep reverence for Mother Earth and the necessity of taking care of her.
The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas know that modern society has categorically not learned their lessons from countless past oil spills and gas leaks. They are grimly aware that the hundreds of environmental catastrophes and public health disasters caused by the Oil and Gas Industry have gone virtually unnoticed by the people. Consequently, they know that something very dramatic and impactful must be done to save the planet.
The Native American Indians are particularly cognizant of the plight that is associated worldwide with the Hydrocarbon Fuel Paradigm. Their experience has shown them that the corporate interests will never transition away from this paradigm no matter how much destruction is wrought throughout the biosphere. Hence, there is now a call being uttered around the world to all who have learned these vital lessons.
Standing Rock now “stands like a rock” as that call to action, the call to duty, the call to upholding dharma (right action). This call to action has been issued by the chiefs, the elders, and the shamans of the many tribes across the Americas. They know that this is their fight to fight, if ever there was one. And that there is no shrinking in the face of the powerful forces which have been arrayed against them.
Although these types of pipeline projects have been undertaken for several decades, it is the pipeline being run through Standing Rock which has catalyzed a movement that has only gotten bigger and stronger since day one. Regardless of how the government authorities or corporate representatives respond, the tribes are resolute. They have drawn a line in the sand and refuse to let the company transgress it.
That all the chiefs of the Indigenous Peoples have reconciled and laid aside their differences in order to advocate this cause is unprecedented over the past hundred years. Such a universal reconciliation has created an unshakable unity among all the tribes that they now “stand like a rock” together as a formidable force to be dealt with. In their unparalleled unity, they now find great strength and resolve.
This is the true magic of Standing Rock. For this rapidly expanding mission has brought together many other environmental activist groups and health advocacy organizations in a similar way. Folks across the nation are joining hands and standing shoulder to shoulder to address this weighty matter in a way that must be people-power if it is to be successful.
In closing, the world community of nations is now witnessing an organically grown, grassroots, environmental movement of truly epic proportions. The outcome of their noble endeavors may very well determine the future of humanity as well as the fate of the planet Earth. Therefore, every reader is highly encouraged to join this movement however they are inclined. For the livelihood of all future generations hangs in the delicate balance.
 Bakken pipeline
Scientific References (Fracking)
Standing Rock Movement United Enemy Tribes