Native land and people should not be disrespected

Protesters%2C+including+army+veterans%2C+join+together+to+peacefully+oppose+against+the+construction+of+the+Dakota+Pipeline.

Photo courtesy of newyorktimes.com

Protesters, including army veterans, join together to peacefully oppose against the construction of the Dakota Pipeline.

Kat LeTran and Emma Hall

The Army Corps of Engineers has finally declared to find a new route for the Dakota Access pipeline. 

Over the past three  months, Sioux Native Americans have fought arduously to remove the pipeline construction from their land.

But the fight is not over. Dakota  Access still has not released a statement, and the new route could be just as harmful and invasive.

 The new pipeline has to find a route that is environmentally and ethically safe. In addition, the Dakota Access company must fully apologize for their unethical construction in Sioux land and extreme mistreatment of protesters.

Dakota Access and the federal government had approved and followed through with the project without consulting the last standing, powerful tribe, the Sioux. 

This rightfully struck outrage from the Sioux tribe in Standing Rock, resulting in mass protests since September.

In a statement to CNN, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wrote that the pipeline construction would “destroy [their] burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts.” 

This is unacceptable. In a country where diversity is supposedly celebrated and cultures respected, the violation of native land and traditions goes against American beliefs and unity.

Historically, the government has consistently violated treaties between native tribes and the US, stealing land despite written law. 

According to standingrock.org, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has the right to a self-government as a sovereign nation through the Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868. Why is it acceptable now to invade their reserved land with forced construction of an environmentally harmful oil pipeline?

Native Americans have suffered from our hands for generations, and it is time to take a stand and stop the disrespect the US has shown to Native American cultures and land. 

The construction of this pipeline had caused even more controversy from the inhumane abuse toward protests from Dakota Access and police.

According to democracynow.org, security guards working for the Dakota Access Pipeline company “attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they protested against the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction.” 

Protesters have been attacked with water cannons by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in severely cold weather, according to Native News Online. This type of inhumane abuse did not stop after that. 

There is overwhelming account of countless incidents of peaceful protesters being pepper sprayed, violently beaten and arrested, being held in dog kennels after being arrested, suffering from tear gas, and being shot by rubber bullets. 

These protesters were fighting for their lives. The fact that Dakota Access did not acknowledge the suffering of these people is more than just inappropriate as a big corporation, it is an ethical violation of human rights.

Now that the Army Corps of Engineers and the Obama administration have decided to rerout the pipeline, an apology is in order.

In addition, the route must be legal and environmentally safe. Native land should not be invaded for an oil pipeline. 

With the upcoming Trump administration, who knows what will happen with the pipeline?

In the interview with USA Today, DiDi Banerji, a nurse at the protest camp, said, “[The Dakota Access company] are desperate to get the pipe under the river.  If Trump approves this, the (protest) actions are going to start again.’’