Standing Rock victory has finally come


A major victory occurred in early December regarding the efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. On December 4, the U.S. Army Corps denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River because of the country’s outcry against the pipeline. This decision is forcing pipeline construction to be temporarily stopped. Many believe the denied permit will result in the rerouting to a safer location.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile pipeline that stretches from North Dakota to Illinois. This proposed project violated sacred burial grounds and if it were to break, it could have contaminated a large population’s drinking water.

Despite what seemed to be an inevitable project because the majority of the pipeline had already been installed, many indigenous people and protesters came together across the country. They gathered in large numbers at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and in major cities across the country to stop the project that put profits over people. Another impactful group assisting in fighting the protest were 2,000 veterans who appeared at Standing Rock a week before the permit was denied. This nation-wide controversy brought many diverse groups together. Even students from Bowie participated in local protests.

This accomplishment symbolizes a lot for this country. It proves that our voices really do matter and we can use it to bring positive change. Many people believe that protesting and speaking up about the concerns for the United States is pointless or inconvenient. It is hard to believe that the government would’ve ever denied the pipeline if it weren’t for the countless protests. This major change was a direct result of the outcry from indigenous people and activists. It’s important to acknowledge that the protesters did this and their actions heavily influenced the government choices.

However, it is alarming because it took almost a year for this change to be made despite the fact that there has been heavy media coverage for months. It’s important to give credit to the Army Corps of Engineers and not Barack Obama. He is the president who created National Native American Heritage Month yet he stayed silent when Native Americans were facing harsh police brutality because they were fighting for basic human rights. As a liberal president who respects diversity and fights for environmental issues, Obama should be able to say he chooses a group of people over business.

Progress could be lost with president-elect Donald Trump in office. Trump has claimed that he has supported the pipeline’s completion. It is very clear that he is in favor of this project because he has a large personal investment in the company who is building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners. These financial ties should make it clear that this victory is not truly complete with the upcoming change in office. Legally, this permit can be easily overturned.

Protesters have also been advised to stay on site at the Sioux Reservation due to fears that construction will continue as planned despite the denied permit. However, it is safe to say that if they were to do this, outrage would be heard across the country and it would be hard to get away with it.

This is not the first time Native Americans have been oppressed in American history. History repeats itself and this controversy is far from over. However, it’s important to celebrate this victory because it is important step in the right path.

Art by: Gavin Farner