Opinion

Jacqueline Keeler: #NoDAPL resistance is part of something bigger






The #NoDAPL resistance movement has drawn thousands of tribal citizens and non-Native supporters to North Dakota. Photo by Bold Iowa

Writer and activist Jacqueline Keeler (Navajo / Yankton Sioux) explores the historic nature of the #NoDAPL resistance movement in North Dakota:
This 1,168-mile pipeline extending across four states from North Dakota to Illinois has sparked a prairie fire of united Native American resistance not seen since Wounded Knee, and a return of the Great Sioux Nation. This is the first time since the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn that all seven council fires have camped together.

The Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota are all members of the Océti Sakówin, the seven council fires, commonly known to most Americans as the “Great Sioux Nation.” Their dialects are distinct but they are all one people. The people of Standing Rock are known as Sitting Bull’s people (the Húnkpapa), but also include Ihánkthunwannaa (Yanktonai Dakota) bands.

According to the 1868 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, the “Great Sioux Reservation” comprised nearly 60 million acres and was roughly the size of the United Kingdom. The Standing Rock reservation is adjacent to another even larger reservation belonging to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Together, these two reservations equal in size to El Salvador or Israel span across two states and constitute the largest continuous land area left to the Océti Sakówin. Four more Dakota/Lakota reservations along the Missouri could also be impacted. This archipelago of reservations is all that remains of their former lands — now in the hands of often hostile state governments.

In July, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which had granted the final permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline in federal court. However, on August 24, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court from the District of Columbia delayed a decision for the Tribe’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and promised a decision before or on Sept. 9.

The delay was met with disappointment by the 2,000 supporters at the Camp of the Sacred Stones near the site of the pipeline construction site at Cannonball, North Dakota. Thousands more, mainly Native Americans following the protest, registered their concern over social media under the hashtags #NoDAPL and #RezpectOurWater. Despite the huge encampment and an unprecedented intertribal unity unseen before on any issue, there has been little media coverage, especially when compared to the 24-7 CNN coverage of the Bundy family’s armed standoffs with federal authorities.

Read More:
Jacqueline Keeler: Tribal Dakota Pipeline Resistance the Start of Something Bigger (teleSUR 9/3)

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