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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Business As Usual

Business As Usual

My heart bleeds for those standing tall at Standing Rock, North Dakota.

Are you following this latest bit of insolence on the part of Big Business, unfolding like a 1950’s Grade B horror flick? For starters, with Corporate Media under firm corporate control, we must rely on social media for pertinent, up-to-date information. That being said, rest assured there is enough greed, avarice and arrogance to last the lifetime of our Earth, however short a period of time that turns out to be.

At issue is the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which indigenous activists maintain threatens to contaminate the Missouri River. More than 1,000 of these hearty souls, representing multiple nations, have converged on Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, to peacefully protest. 

Thus far, their efforts have produced small victories, shutting down construction along parts of the pipeline, but the ultimate completion of the project is still a given. I’ll explain why.

Among their strategies for protesting (except they refer to it as “protecting”) is the lawsuit that was filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an entity long known for running roughshod over our environment, with impunity.

Entrusting the future of our environment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and expecting happy results, is like delivering a semi-truck of cannabis to a music festival of hippies, and expecting them check their bongs at the door. 

It’s never going to happen.

Setting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers loose on this type of project, is a truly frightening thought because of past practices. Established guidelines have been swept aside by lawyers, well-versed in their destructive ways. 
Blue heron over our pond

Specifically, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit asserts that approval for the 1,200 mile-long-pipeline was obtained illegally, without any consultation with indigenous peoples. 

Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, explains that the pipeline is “threatening the lives of people, lives of my tribe as well as millions down the river."

Archambault continues, "It threatens ancestral sites that are significant to our tribe. And we never had the opportunity to express our concerns. This is a corporation that is going forward and just bulldozing through without any concern for tribes."

Finally, he concludes, "And the things that have happened to tribal nations across this nation have been unjust and unfair, and this has come to a point where we cannot longer pay the costs for this nation’s well-being.”

This nation’s well-being? Translated, this simply means it suits Big Business’ interests, and that is not the same thing. It’s the same Manifest Destiny hogwash that has been prevalent in these matters since the nineteenth century, the belief that it is/was America’s “God-given” right to expand westward from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, or  from “sea to shining sea.”

What a crock.

“God-given?” Seriously? People of European extraction invaded this country, and imposed the concept of their god upon indigenous peoples, who had no interest. Subsequently, this god had now determined that lands belonging to these native peoples, were no longer theirs.

How diabolically convenient is that? And how truly despicable?

Now tribes who have never gathered in the same place because of long-standing cultural differences, have aligned together in an unprecedented move towards solidarity.

Would it seem reasonable to expect, that if these nations can set aside their differences to fight for Mother Earth, that the rest of us might join them?

The irony of indigenous peoples being the ones to halt this project is exquisitely delicious. They’re not using the conventional instruments to count coup. No, they are employing their own lawyers, and working within the framework of the system to protest the wanton destruction of the environment, and to protect it.

                                               *                 *               *               *

Having now provided a bare-bones background, fast-forward to this past Friday, September 2nd. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe disclosed several significant cultural finds in the path of the pipeline and presented them to a federal judge for consideration. This was four days ago.

Before the judge could act on the matter, on Saturday, the very next day, bulldozers were brazenly used to destroy burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts. This was three days ago.

Topsoil was removed across an area 150 feet wide, by two miles long, destroying stone features, including prayer rings and cairns that were used to mark burial grounds.

While protesting [protecting] on Saturday, resisters were subjected to vicious attacks by breed dogs, not trained for security work. A small girl and a pregnant woman were among the victims of this savage approach. Additionally, Dakota Access paramilitary forces used tear gas and pepper spray against the protecters.

As uncivilized as this all sounds, ponder the extremities inherent in this comedy of errors: There are portions of this pipeline which cross 200 waterways, with 300 miles of it being on federal land. 

For owners of private land, the project simply uses eminent domain to claim their property; for federal lands, the process requires permits.
Lito and Conner surveying the land

What is happening is that work has never stopped on the private sector, pending approval for the federal lands. This seems awfully presumptuous, as in putting the cart before the horse. What if the permit covering federal lands was never granted? Laugh the fuck out loud.

The stench of arrogance pervades this entire debacle.

Now, destruction of sacred cultural artifacts and sites has taken place, innocent people have been injured and impunity has been rewarded.

In other words, it’s business as usual.

I am outraged that with our current awareness of climate-out-of-control, that we still have corporations which proceed as though this were still the nineteenth century, fastening their collective grip on any trophy which appeals to them.

If this sounds un-American, then call a rose a rose.

I am also inordinately proud that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is standing up for their rights, and the rights of all mankind. It's a lousy job that is becoming increasingly more dangerous, especially for kids and pregnant women.

When I contemplate having happen here on Bell Springs Road, what is going on in North Dakota, I panic. I can’t conceive of a nation with so little regard for its citizens, as to implement such a destructive-not to mention archaic-bit of chaos, on to a people already so abused, and an Earth so indiscriminately ravaged.

Wait a second. Of course I can conceive of it because it’s happening In front of our very eyes and has been happening for more than 500 years.

I just can’t believe it.

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