Let’s imagine for a moment that you own your own home and have an awesome back yard. You have raised your children there and have invested your heart into this property. But one day, the “authorities” show up and say, sorry, but we’re going to drill here to extract some oil that we need.
Without your approval, they just start taking over your yard and suddenly your water is poisonous and lights on fire. You appeal to anyone for help, but everyone in charge says, “sorry, this is for the greater good.” And you’re like, the greater good of who, and why do I have to suck it up? Why does my family have to get sick? Oh, and by the way, you won’t get any benefit from this toxic operation…
Then, we’re going to build this pipeline to send it to those that might benefit from this sludge, and run through that graveyard near the church where your family members are buried.
If these seems like unimaginable horror and it couldn’t happen to you, think again. It is happening in North Dakota and it is far uglier than you think.
I recently had a chance to speak to Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara – North Dakota) of Indigenous Rising, a project of the Indigenous Environmental Network about her lengthy battle for her home, family, community, the water, the land and more. She is literally on the front lines of an environmental battle that we all need to pay attention to.
According to Kandi and thousands of social media videos and images, despite a federal court-ordered halt to construction the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, digging and construction continue.
Aside from the assault on important sacred Native American tribal sites, which should be reason enough to stop this pipeline’s current path, there are massive environmental implications. As Kandi stated, “As we know with all pipelines — they do leak. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.”
Kandi’s community has been devastated by the extraction of the oil that is intended to flow through this pipeline — environmentally and socially. She talks about how people just don’t realize the social impact it is having, especially on women. Domestic violence and violence against women have increased, and rape against women has increased 168%! Because the oil business has brought new money and workers to the community, it has also attracted an increased heroin problem, drug trafficking and organized crime.
There is a lot going on out in North Dakota and things are very fluid and changing rapidly. I’m hoping you will be inspired to dig in and learn more, get connected and keep updated as news comes in, and find ways to support Kandi and the many people who are standing up to the bullying of big oil. It’s not just about indigenous rights, although that is a huge issue, they are standing for all of us, because we all need to stop the willful destruction of the environment and precious resources and carefully consider how it impacts people, planet and wildlife.
If you feel like I do, you’ll want to find out what you can do (see below), but first Neil Young has something to say about this…
Here are a few ways to learn more and get involved
Go There or Send Supplies…
Indigenous Environmental Network on Facebook
Indigenous Environmental Network on Twitter
Red Warrior Camp on Facebook
RezpectOurWater on Facebook
RezpectOurWater on Twitter
Sacred Stone Camp on FaceBook
Sacres Stone Camp on Twitter
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top photo credit: Joe Bursky – Creative Commons