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Burning Spear News

Indigenous people stand up to white power at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation

Sep 13, 2016
Kalonda Mulamba, African People's Socialist Party


Indigenous people stand up to white power's plan to construct a pipeline through their lands and water supply

 

NORTH DAKOTA––The Indigenous people to this land are currently engaged in intense struggle against parasitic capitalist companies as well as the U.S. State to protect their land and water supply.

Indigenous people of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation are heavily resisting––and have been since the beginning of August––the illegitimate plans to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline is an estimated $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline that will span 1,172-mile and cross the Missouri River to carry crude oil from North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, to southern Illinois.

Our Indigenous sisters and brothers are legitimately concerned that this pipeline will pollute the river––the drinking water source for thousands of tribal members on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and millions further downstream.

We have recently seen the devastating effects that the use and intake of polluted and poisonous water can have on entire communities in other parts of the country, particularly is Flint, Michigan.

The pipeline’s construction will also disturb sacred and historical sites.

Background of the Dakota Access Pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the portion of the government illegitimately controlling the country’s waterways, sent a letter to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) on February 17, 2015, initiating the permitting process.

According to with National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), USACE is required to consult with the affected tribes on the pipeline's potential impact.

THPO requested a full archeological investigation with their quick response. After getting no response from USACE, THPO sent follow-up letters on February 25 and again on April 8, both of which also went unreturned.

THPO finally received a response letter from the USACE on September 15, 2015 which asked if the Tribal Chairman would like to consult on the pipeline project.

The THPO responded, highlighting their concerns about "significant and unevaluated properties" on the site, and the site’s exclusion from the National Historic Preservation Act evaluation process.

The THPO was left to conclude that "the Corps is attempting to circumvent the Section 106 process."

The USACE ultimately gave themselves the go-ahead in their conclusion that no historic properties would be affected with the construction of the pipeline, on April 22, 2016.

On July 25th, the USACE issued the final fast-track permit to continue pipeline construction in the 200-odd sites across four states.

The Standing Rock Sioux filed an injunction, filed a lawsuit against USACE and asked the court to compel the USACE to withdraw the permit. Eleven days later, the parent company of Dakota Access sued the Standing Rock Sioux chairman and other tribal members for blocking construction.

This is a clear instance where imperialist companies will break and circumvent agreements to forward their own parasitic capitalist interests, even at the expense of the environment and the colonized people living there.

Protestors block construction

The protests began on August 22, 2016 when Indigenous men and women helped to block the construction sites located at Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Although the protests are led by the Standing Rock Sioux, Indigenous people from 60 tribes––as many as 4000 people––joined their brothers and sisters to resist the pipeline construction.

In an attempt to weaken the demonstrators, Greg Wilz, division director of homeland security and an arm of the State, ordered the removal of state-owned water tanks and trailers that had been providing protest camps with drinking water.

This is a popular tactic of the oppressor to starve out those who engage in struggle against the State.

While awaiting a resolution on the legal case, Dakota Access bulldozers plowed a two-mile-long, 150-foot-wide path through the sacred tribal burial ground of the Indigenous residents of Standing Rock Sioux.

Police attack Indigenous people with dogs

The protest was made violent on September 3rd when Dakota Access sent its armed security goons to sic police dogs on the demonstrators.

Violent security guard attacked Indigenous people with dogs and mace. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed and six people, including a child, were viciously attacked and bitten by dogs.

This sparked intense outrage all around the country as horrifying videos and photos were uploaded to various social media sites. These images show Indigenous people nursing bite wounds and washing mace out of their eyes.

This imperialist attack occurred on the 153rd anniversary of the Whitestone massacre when the U.S. army killed more than 300 members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in 1863.

A century and a half later, Indigenous people are still colonized and oppressed under the oppressive and illegitimate rule of white power. Indigenous people of North America are still struggling for self-determination and for the power to have control over their lands which were viciously stolen from them.

The African People’s Socialist Party (ASPSP) is clear that, even though it was the Dakota Access’ security goons who made the attack on our Indigenous sisters and brothers, the U.S. government was complicit in these attacks.

So far, at least 30 people––including the tribe leader Dave Archambault II––have been arrested by the police for their act of resistance. The State’s excuse is that they are “interfering with construction of the pipeline.”

This pipeline, however, is being constructed by foreign invaders to this land. This government is illegitimate, which makes every rule, law and policy that they enforce also illegitimate.

These laws which govern a nation of people came at the expense of their lives and self-determination and do not speak to their interests. These laws are therefore illegitimate, which makes every struggle to overturn them a legitimate and righteous struggle.

Obama silent on Standing Rock Sioux

Unsurprisingly, U.S. president Barack Obama refused to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s righteous struggle against the Dakota Access pipeline on September 8th.

While speaking at Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang, Laos, the imperialist president was asked, “In your capacity, what can you do to ensure the protection of the ancestral land, the supply of clean water and also environmental justice is upheld?”

In his hallow response, Obama described treatment of the Indigenous people of North America as “tragic” and claimed to have started an “honest and generous and respectful” relationship with Indigenous tribes.

His response did not speak to the question at hand. He stated, “Now, some of these issues are caught up with laws and treaties, and so I can’t give you details on this particular case. I’d have to to go back to my staff and find out how we are doing on this one.”

If it is not yet understood by our readers that Obama is an imperialist puppet who is only concerned with forwarding the interests of white power and the white ruling class at the expense of colonized people, let it be clear now.

Less than a week after the rightful owners and protectors of this land were maced in the eyes and had rabid dogs rip into their flesh simply for standing up to the State in defense of their water source and land, Obama essentially had nothing to say about it.

We are clear that the president of the biggest imperialist country has no plans for the Indigenous people of this land who are fighting against colonial domination.

We can confidently say that Obama will do for the Standing Rock Sioux exactly what he did for the African community during his entire presidency––absolutely nothing.

Country-wide solidarity

People all around the country are standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. People have gathered in places like Washington Square in NY and in front of the White House in Washington D.C. to demand that the pipeline construction be halted.

Scores of people are also voicing their outrage online and offering up their solidarity to the Indigenous population via social media platforms.

District judge James Boasberg denied the Standing Rock Sioux's injunction request on September 9th, allowing for construction of the Dakota Access pipeline to continue.

The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior issue a joint statement, acknowledging the district court's opinion but refusing to authorize construction in the Lake Oahe area, near the protests.

The departments, under the directive of the Obama administration, asked Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access, to voluntarily pause all construction within 20 miles of the Lake Oahe region until it can be determined whether the construction is in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

We want to stress that, contrary to some reports of colonial media, the administration did not stop the construction of the pipeline, it simply paused temporarily construction on a small portion of the pipeline. We condemn any accounts who referred to this as a victory. It is not.

Deepening the crisis of imperialism

Like Chairman Omali Yeshitela states, imperialism is in crisis as the colonized people responsible for its existence are fighting back and taking back our resources. It is our right to fight back against our oppression and misappropriation of our lands.

We urge our Indigenous comrades to deepen the crisis of imperialism. Continue to struggle and continue to resist. It is clear that the white ruling class is fractured as they are not on the same page with how to proceed with the pipeline construction.

The APSP, stand in solidarity with our Indigenous comrades. We recognize that as Africans in the U.S., we were stolen from Africa and forcefully displaced into this country to work the lands following the genocide and near-wipeout of the Indigenous peoples and the theft of their land.

We, too, demand “No Dakota Access Pipeline”! and are firm when we say that this land belongs to the Indigenous people!

Uhuru!
Free Standing Rock Sioux

Indigenous People Have The Right To Resist!

 

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