No doubt you’ve seen the #nodapl hashtag or have seen people (nearly 1.4 million people) check in Standing Rock, a Native American reservation in North Dakota. This is all due to the fact that the Sioux Native American tribe is condemning and protesting against an oil pipeline construction project. The company behind the pipeline, Energy
No doubt you’ve seen the #nodapl hashtag or have seen people (nearly 1.4 million people) check in Standing Rock, a Native American reservation in North Dakota. This is all due to the fact that the Sioux Native American tribe is condemning and protesting against an oil pipeline construction project. The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transport Partners, has poured 3.7 billion dollars into the project and they say it will provide hundreds of jobs and boost the local economy. They also claim that the pipeline is a much faster and safer alternative compared to transport via truck or rails.
So why are the Sioux Native Americans so against the pipeline? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the pipeline will be built right through an ancient ancestral burial ground, various archaeological sites, and would probably also contaminate the tribe’s main source of water. Environmental activists are also teaming up with the Sioux due to the environmental damage the pipeline could cause. Experts fear that the 570,000 barrels of crude oil that would be transported daily will drastically increase fossil fuel emissions.
So why the hashtag and check ins? They play a dual purpose, one is awareness. The pipeline story has gone viral on social media and news outlets and called attention to the harsh treatment of protestors. Second, a social media campaign claims that by checking into Standing Rock it will inflate the numbers of protestors and confuse the local police. There is little evidence that such an act will actually confuse law enforcement but the movement has quickly gained ground and over a million people have silently participated in the protest.
The protest continues to rage on despite lack of funds and the overwhelming brutality they face. The total number of protesters has not been made official but at least 150 protesters have been arrested at this time. First hand accounts say the police have used dogs, pepper spray, and rubber bullets on protesters despite the fact that the protesters are unarmed and are organizing peaceful rallies. Many quickly point out the historical treatment of Native Americans and compare these protests to others where white protesters have been treated far better.
There was a temporary block on the pipeline construction near the Missouri River by the Federal Government back in September and is still in effect. But, construction of the pipeline continues in other areas and continues with full confidence it will be completed.