Sacred rights not for sale


Dusty Hartl, Opinions Editor

For centuries, the United States Government has disregarded the Native American population in America. Since the United States was founded it has opposed and discriminated against the original settlers of this land. Once again, the Native Americans are being ignored.

In North Dakota, there is a growing uproar to stop the building of a pipeline that “will disturb sacred lands and burial grounds” the Huffington Post said. In addition, the tribe is worried about the environmental impact of the pipeline, since it will run under the Missouri River, which supplies the tribe’s drinking water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit in late July, and a judge ruled on Sept. 9 that the pipeline production could continue. Since that time, President Barack Obama has reversed the ruling and halted construction.

There is question as to whether or not Obama should have intervened. Fox News said “the decision to put on hold the $3.8 billion project set off a firestorm among industry leaders and lawmakers who say the administration has overstepped its authority.”

It is hard to imagine that helping the Native American population in this country is overstepping any kind of authority. For centuries now, we have taken, destroyed, killed and disregarded the Native American people and their land.

The History News Network says “According to Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a “vast genocide . . . , the most sustained on record.””

The Sioux Nation is not just looking out for its own self interest, but the entire United States population. The North Dakota pipeline would travel under the Missouri River, and if it leaks or bursts, it would toxify the water.

Not only does this pipeline contribute to major environmental and humanitarian concerns, but it also raises concerns about how much our government is allowing to happen. Imagine if this pipeline went through Whitewater Lake, our own backyard.

The only reasonable and logical thing to do is stop the construction of the pipeline in order to respect the Native American population and ease environmental concerns. This debate has not started here and it will not end here.

A week ago, Alabama and Georgia declared a state of emergency after 250,000 gallons of oil leaked out of a pipeline.

The EPA, enviornmental protection agency, said, “The gasoline is also unlikely to breach the retention pond and enter nearby Cahaba River, Alabama’s longest free-flowing stream.” This is a potential reality of the North Dakota pipeline if built.

The United States Government needs to permanently halt the construction of the pipeline.

It is time that the government contributes positively to the many minority groups that they have oppressed over the years and do what is right for the people.

Everyone should research the many pipeline attempts and understand the risks of building them. We, as a country, need to look for alternate forms of energy that will not harm our environment, or our people.