“Rezpect Our Water!” No, dear friends, this was not a typo. This is the phrase adopted by protesters who are completely unable to fathom the logic behind recent construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
For any unfamiliar with this recent battle, here’s the low-down. In 2005, a British energy company, Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company (ETCO), came up with an idea they conceived as brilliant; let’s build a pipeline! Using this, they could haul oil across several states and make unimaginable profits.
Unfortunately, they neglected to take one very important fact into consideration. In building this pipeline, they will cross under Lake Oahe, the property of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. No big deal, right? It’s just crossing under the lake.
Wrong. The chances of a major oil spill occurring are significant, which could not only have a considerable impact on their environment but contaminate their most sacred water source.
“Our aquifers and rivers are fed by this river,” Aries Yumul, the assistant principal of North Dakota’s Todd County School District, said. “If it were to get contaminated, it would affect all of the tribal nations. The idea of that… it would be a death sentence at this point.”
Not to mention, they fear that by inserting a pipeline on this property, they will disrespect their ancestors and possibly even disturb their gravesites!
“Thanksgiving this year should be a worldwide celebration to honor the water protectors and recognize the spiritual battle that has sustained us since the arrival of Columbus,” said Cheryl Angel, a Sicangu Lakota. “This should be the year that water is honored at the Thanksgiving table.”
However, these protesters must demonstrate true dedication and determination. Police have been using weapons classified as “less than lethal”, which can range from ice-cold water to concussion grenades, according to witnesses and officials. In fact, journalist, Pat Boyle, was covering the recent chaos at a demonstration campsite, when he was shot in the abdomen with a rubber bullet. Yes, it sounds completely harmless and almost pathetic. Turns out rubber bullets actually can do some damage, though, because, low-and-behold, his press badge presents a jagged hole the size of a quarter.
Although the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are concerned by this change, citizens from all around the country are fighting to burn these blueprints. Some are determined to show their Native American pride, while others are concerned for the toll this construction may take on the environment.
One thing’s for sure: These protesters aren’t going down without a fight.