Simon Moya-Smith: Hillary Clinton remains silent amid pipeline feud

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is presented with a blanket during a visit to the Puyallup Reservation in Washington on March 22, 2016. Photo from Hillary Clinton / Facebook

Simon Moya-Smith, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, wonders whether Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will weigh on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline:
Hillary Clinton says she is committed to supporting Indian country. Well, now her commitment is being put to the test.

Thousands of Native Americans and allies, including actress Shailene Woodley, have been at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline there. The almost $4 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline, which received its permits from the Army Corps of Engineers in July, will snake through ancient Standing Rock Sioux burial grounds and may also threaten the peoples' drinking water.

Last Thursday, 14 people were arrested during protests. On Friday, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault, was arrested along with five others. And on Monday, at least 10 were taken into custody. The charges range from disorderly conduct for blocking access to the site to pushing back on a police line. Developers on Thursday said they were halting construction until a federal court hearing next week.

But this isn't just about the threat to Native American grave sites. Setting aside that it is hard to imagine that the pipeline would be going ahead if it were to cut through the graves of white people, the pipeline is also in clear violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, signed in 1868 between the United States and various Native American tribes and nations, including the Standing Rock Sioux. That document guarantees land, sovereignty, and hunting rights, and promises that the territory will "be closed to all whites."

The facts of this injustice are clear. The question now is whether Clinton will weigh in.

Read More from Simon Moya-Smith:
Simon Moya-Smith: Hillary Clinton must stand with Native Americans (CNN 8/19)

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