The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, from Land to Twitter
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
Though having only recently had the spotlight of the national media trained on them, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have been a months-long clash between, on the one hand, Standing Rock Sioux tribe members, indigenous and non-indigenous allies, and environmental activists, and, on the other, proponents of the nearly 1,200-mile long oil pipeline from western North Dakota to southern Illinois. Indigenous protesters have made recourse to both litigation and direct action in an attempt to halt construction on a pipeline slated to come within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The protests have drawn both state and federal intervention, with the National Guard having been brought to protest sites, violent clashes between police and protesters, a legal tango between the Obama administration and district court judges, and increasing pressure on the U.S. presidential candidates to take a stand on the issue.
At issue is what activists say has been a failure on the government’s part to engage Native communities, conduct a thorough environmental and cultural impact assessment ahead of the pipeline’s construction, confront tribe members’ concerns about the potential for water contamination, and adhere to laws regarding the preservation of sacred cultural sites. The approach of the bitter North Dakotan winter has punctuated current protests with a question mark as activists and advocates seek to perpetuate the recently gained media momentum and mobilize public opinion—and, by extension, political pressure—against the pipeline’s construction.
“A History of Native Americans Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline” (Mother Jones)
“What to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests” (TIME)
“The Standing Rock Sioux ‘know what they’re doing’ in North Dakota” (Public Radio International)
“Tension Between Police and Standing Rock Protesters Reaches Boiling Point” (The New York Times, October 2016)
“Tribe Says Police Are Violating The Civil Rights Of Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents” (The Huffington Post, October 2016)
“Dakota Pipeline Company Buys Ranch Near Sioux Protest Site, Records Show” (NBC News, September 2016)
“The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Atlantic, September 2016)
(Image Credit: James MacPherson/AP, via TIME)