While the corporate media and much of the country were obsessed with the threat posed by Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy, the Lakota and Dakota Sioux nations had another concern. Their people gathered en masse near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation to protest a more immediate threat: Energy Transfer Partners’ $3.7-billion, 1,200- mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which would “burrow under the reservation’s primary water source” as it snaked from North Dakota to southern Illinois.
Never mind the sacred burial grounds to be bulldozed along the route. There is black gold to pump, and nothing is going to stop the white man’s right to commerce no matter how negatively it impacts North America’s indigenous peoples.
“What we look at are not only our ancestral sites, but future generations,” David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, told me. “There’s a serious issue here with these Dallas-based corporations that are driven by greed and money to get a project done at all costs. And the cost that has to be paid is a burden placed on tribes.”
The massive protest prompted North Dakota’s governor to call out the National Guard and riot squads on behalf of Energy Transfer. He had seen what happened the last time Americans took notice of an enormous pipeline project: the now-scuttled Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have pumped dirty tar sands crude from Canada across the U.S. heartland’s water supply to the Gulf of Mexico for export.