Some American states are in “Indian Country.” One of them is North Dakota.
The U.S. took full control of these territories in the last quarter of the 19th century. The “Battle of Little Big Horn” in 1876 was the last big Indian victory. Historians call it “Custer’s Last Stand.”
Today, Indians are coming from all over to take a stand in North Dakota. They are not fighting a war. They are fighting an oil pipeline. They are meeting at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
The battle is about the old and the new. The “old” is the site itself. Part of it is on sacred Indian land. Sacred lands are places where Indians lived and buried their dead. The ”new” is the concern Indians and others have about the safety of the proposed pipeline.
There are many opponents to the pipeline. Critics say the Army Corps of Engineers, big business, and big labor did not follow the rules. Lawyers and the courts are now at the table. A court ruling on whether the project can go forward is due this Friday. It is only the beginning of the legal fight.
Incidents are taking place. There are demonstrations. Indians from many tribes are joining in the activities. Support from activists is growing. The U.N. has become involved. Some Indians and police suffered minor injuries.
Indian activists are hoping that this is the start of a movement. More than 200 tribes have sent food and other supplies. A spontaneous “reservation” is growing on land near the pipeline.
It is also a struggle over the environment. There are oil pipelines across the country. Some pipelines, such as the Keystone Pipeline, were not built. President Obama would not approve it.
This project is the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. It is under construction. It will cross the Missouri River. It will pass one mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
Source: The Washington Post September 7, 2016