Tensions Rise in Standing Rock Sioux Nation

by jessieparlee on Novembre 25, 2016 - 11:00pm

In summary, the piece of media which has been selected is regarding the protest against the North Dakota Pipeline in Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Thousands of people have now displayed their support with the first nation community. Protests, marches and rallies have also taken place all over Canada, as a way to display solidarity. Standing Rock Sioux Nation is opposed to the construction of a multi-million dollar project that would transport crude oil from the Bakken oil field, close to the border of Saskatchewan Canada, into the border of Illinois. This pipeline is roughly 1886 km long.  The motive behind why tribal leaders, other members of the aboriginal community and society are opposed to the construction of the pipeline is based on the fear that the pipeline may leak and poison the entire Missouri River. The reason why this is concerning, is simply because ‘water is life’. With this being said, humans and all other species on Earth need water to exist, thrive and live. Humans cannot drink oil, and the way the government has been managing resources are as if they would rather have profits over people. The pipeline is also being opposed due to lack of regulations, potential seismic activity, and the backlash in regards to making investments to the fossil fuel industry.

The turnout of support for Standing Rock is overwhelming and what first started out as a small camp has now transcended into thousands of people living in tents, RVs and Teepees to show support. The camp has grown in size so much, that there are now cooks to feed and host new comers, to thank the public for support. However, due to the size of support being shown for Standing Rock, there are now police check points coming in and out of the territory, and overall police activity has been high. In fact, Standing Rock has declared they are in a state of emergency to address the seriousness of the situation. As a result of the emergency declaration signed by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the fight is not predicted to end anytime soon. Although protestors have been peaceful, police brutality has increased with the use of pepper spray, water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets, which only perpetuates the situation. In summary, protest to the North Dakota pipeline is expected to continue and is expected to get worse before it gets better depending on decisions.

Aboriginal communities are immediately affected by the pipeline, as it is set to be built across their traditional territory, thus making them a major stakeholder. Other stakeholders include NGO’s, landowners and all levels of government. Other stakeholders include people who are employed within the fossil fuel industry. This is because many members of society are dependent on the jobs which are created from constructing and maintaining a pipeline, also from the extraction and shipment of oil. With this being said the DAPL would give the economy a huge boost, and would be beneficial to raise unemployment.

The opposition to the pipeline is not news; in fact there are many issues around the shipment of crude oil. The cause of the initial conflict is due to different levels of understand the issue. There is a behavioral conflict as Aboriginal communities and the state have had a poor historical relationship. In other words, First Nation communities do not believe that the government will protect common resources, as they have not efficiently done so in the past. There is also a value conflict as different stakeholders have contrasting views regarding the goals of management, (exportation vs. conservation). Lastly, there is also a cognitive conflict as the different parties involved have different levels of understand the environment, (TEK vs. scientific knowledge). Over all, this entire problem is a concern and could be easily mitigated if the government respectfully involved aboriginal communities in economic development. As a final point, First nations can either stand in the way of development or be respectful partners in it.