Opinion

Joel Heitkamp: Officials in North Dakota need a lesson in respect






Honor The Earth established the Red Warrior Camp in North Dakota to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline. Image by Honor The Earth

To hear top officials in North Dakota tell it, the #NoDAPL resistance camps on and near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are rife with lawlessness, lasers and maybe even pipe bombs. But journalist Joel Heitkamp didn't see any of that during his visit there:
I had the privilege of interviewing Chairman Dave Archambault of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He described the protest, using words like “peaceful,” “spiritual” and “blessing.” Archambault talked at length about how Native people view water as life and expressed his concern that the Dakota Access Pipeline was endangering the safety of his people.

Archambault’s words are very different from those Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley has chosen to describe the situation. In a recent article by Tom Dennis, Wrigley used words like “unlawful” and “crime.” He talked about how the state, under the current administration, has had strong relations with the tribe. He also explained that the tribe has had ample opportunities in “our society” to protest the pipeline’s construction.

Someone needs to tell Wrigley that the society he was raised in is far different than Native American society. While he may not understand that notion, someone should tell him anyhow.

The tone of Wrigley’s interview was unlike the tone Governor Jack Dalrymple has been maintaining. He has been far more cautious; far more respectful of Native Americans; far more understanding of Native traditions, history and culture; and far more intelligent in recognizing the dangers here.

Read More:
Joel Heitkamp: "Our Society" (KFGO 8/230)

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