Dave Archambault Sr.: The roots of the battle at Standing Rock

The Cannonball River flows along the northern border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Photo by Bryan Boyce

A Pope’s decree and the DAPL Pipeline
By Dave Archambault Sr.
Native Sun News Today Columnist

To understand the problem that the Standing Rock Sioux is having with the construction of a pipeline that is being built just 500 feet from their reservation boundary, one has to understand the roots of the disagreement.

It all started in the 1400’s when European Nations were interested in gaining riches from unexplored places in their very limited known universe. At the time, they had no idea that the world was round but they were vaguely aware that other lands existed that may have other kinds of valuable commodities, and hopefully gold.

As these European countries, Portugal, Spain, England, etc., ventured further and further out via their maritime ships, they did discover other people–first in Africa and soon thereafter the indigenous people of the present day “Americas.” Unfortunately these peoples were identified as inferior by the returning explorers.

At this time, the Vatican or the Pope was very, very powerful. These European countries were very cautious, if not fearful of the Church and wanted its blessing to acquire the possessions that might be found from places deemed uncivilized.

In 1492, Pope Nicholas V issued the first Papal Bull that declared, where and when a Christian monarch found a land that was inhabited by non-Christians, they were regarded to be heathens or pagans. Some fallout did ensue, where great debates were held when samples of this far off land were brought back to homelands. The question swirling was, “Were these living and breathing bodies human or animal? Did they have a soul? Killing them, is this a mortal sin or is it like killing a dog?”

By formal decrees coming from the Vatican, Papal Bulls were the start of the Doctrine of Discovery. With this papal edict Indigenous Nations and their members could be eradicated and legally divested of practically everything they owned. This rationalization handed down by the “Holy See” allowed the invaders to view the occupants of far off lands as not only non-Christians but sub-human too. Hence, the native dwellers could be subdued, dominated, enslaved, murdered, and their possessions taken, as well as their land claimed.

Today, virtually all people walking on the surface of North and South American will say, “What was done to God’s red children on these American continents was wrong and the papal bulls were a shameful historic decree.” And 99.99 percent of these people do not realize that the papal doctrines are NOT a thing of the past.

Let’s go to the Standing Rock Nation in North and South Dakota. In 1944, Congress passed the Pick Sloan Act. This devastating Act flooded the Tribe’s most valuable land and never even asked them if it was OK.

In an attempt to appease them, the Army Corps of Engineers promised Standing Rock they would get free electricity. Also promised was the land that was condemned for the dam, but not used, would be given back. These promises turned out to be lies. On top of this, the non-Indian land owners, whose land was also inundated, were compensated at far higher rates than their Indian counterparts.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: A Pope’s decree and the DAPL Pipeline

(Contact Dave Archambault Sr. at joebuckinghorse@gmail.com)

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