Thanks Obama: Victory At Standing Rock

Photo Courtesy of New York Times


This year has been nothing short of tumultuous for Americans—especially the 8,250 Standing Rock Sioux Native Americans living where the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was going to be built, along the border of North and South Dakota. However, on Dec. 4, it was announced that the Obama Administration put a stop to the pipeline, which would have stretched 1,172 miles, crossing the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

According to the DAPL Facts website, the DAPL was a project intended to “connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.” The pipeline was meant to carry oil from North Dakota to major refineries in a more “direct, cost-effective, safe, and environmentally responsible manner,” but American citizens and Standing Rock residents held differing opinions.

While some supported the construction of the pipeline because it would have created several jobs in the area—which has felt overlooked in the reconstruction of post-recession America—most are relieved to hear that groundbreaking on the DAPL has been halted temporarily by the federal government after months of protesting. The win came after hundreds of US veterans joined the Standing Rock protesters to protect them from police officers.

“I think this is a symbolic win for the Sioux, and it was amazing to see the public support the Sioux so vigorously,” CU Denver student Elizabeth Zartman said, “but the Obama Administration is on its last leg, so any promises made could be a misrepresentation of what might happen later on.”

Harshitha Adapa, also a CU Denver student, elaborated on the economic side of the issue. “I’m indifferent to the political side of the argument, and it would have been great to have oil domestically produced, but it concerns me that it would cost 3.7 billion dollars,” Adapa said. “America already spends a significant amount of money on other projects and this one is unnecessary.”

Student Christina Conger felt much more strongly for the humanistic side of the argument against DAPL. “Water is priceless,” Conger said. “Native land is precious. We needed to stand up for Standing Rock. Corporate greed is abusing our American people, our Earth, and our constitutional rights.”

The Native American population has faced atrocities and violation of their rights and land since the first settlers arrived in 1492. For many, the halt of the DAPL was symbolic; it symbolized a win for a group of people who have been disenfranchised and forgotten by those who took over their land.

By no means does this erase the history of violence against the Native American population, but it is a step in the right direction and it has opened a national dialogue on the treatment of the Native American people, which could eventually lead to a more thoughtful treatment of their reservations and their cultures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *