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The Dangers of the Pipeline

Cally Hutson

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The proposed placement of the Dakota Access Pipeline in proximity to the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, is a contemporary human rights issue. It has ignited conversations on climate change and indigenous rights that are desperately needed in America today.

As the effects of climate change continue to escalate, constructing a pipeline purely based on a non-renewable form of energy is taking a step backwards. There are legitimate concerns of oil leaks that would not only harm the Standing Rock Sioux people’s sacred land, but the planet overall. It is simply irresponsible of the American people to continue to support pipelines like DAPL when we have witnessed time and time again, the impacts of oil spills on the surrounding ecosystems. We as a nation should be investing in long term solutions with minimal impact on our environment: clean, renewable energy.

The intersection between environmental rights and indigenous rights is one that is often overlooked. Drinking water is not the only thing at stake here. Traditions, an ancestral language, and an entire community are at risk. Due to the pipeline controversy, these past few months we have been faced with the following question: Would this pipeline even be considered if it affected a similar-sized community of non-indigenous, White Americans?

Across the country, we must recognize the discriminatory treatment that Native Americans have faced since the early years of colonization. Our currency carries the faces of presidents who sentenced them to lives of oppression and displacement; our sports teams express racial slurs against them; our holidays celebrate times when Native Americans were treated inhumanely. The relentless efforts made by the so-called water-protectors has allowed a time to reflect on our shaky relationship between non-native and Native Americans.

 

What Can We Do?

As students, our ability to aid in these efforts may seem limited, but there are still ways we can make our voices heard as allies. The following is contact information on the major banks and organizations that still back the pipeline. Activists have been urging investors to withdraw, by  reaching out to the following banks:

Wells Fargo

CEO John Stumpf

866-249- 3302

 

Citibank (CitiGroup)

CEO Michael Corbat

212-793-1201

 

U.S Bank

Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis

[email protected]

*14 others can be reached through the following link: goo.gl/uKxjQO\

A popular protesting tactic is to leave a message on these phone-lines/emails expressing your concern on this issue, with the aim of sending a blaring message to these companies: their financial prospects do not rank higher than the hundreds of lives who would be directly affected.

The fight to reverse Trump’s order and protect the Standing Rock Sioux people is stronger than ever. It is our duty to help the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters in their struggle: we must protect water and everything it stands for.

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The Dangers of the Pipeline