Once again, it has become apparent that neither the United States government nor its corporate allies have any respect for the indigenous peoples based on their total disregard for their rights or land. The Standing Rock Lakota people have been living in the region for thousands of years. Is it not enough that they have been absolutely displaced from their traditional lands? Is it not enough that their culture was beaten out of them and their people almost fully decimated by the colonial blitzkrieg? How much more shame and guilt must the Lakota people endure—especially the men since they “were” the warriors/protectors of their people? Now they are being attacked by dogs for once again attempting to protect their people!
I am trying to imagine what it would be like as a man being asked to show up to support his people in stopping the destruction of their land, including grave sites for an oil pipeline?! I am trying to imagine what it would be like to be pepper sprayed for peacefully protesting? I am trying to imagine what it would be like for my children to witness me being attacked in this way? How humiliating! How degrading of a man’s pride for his children to witness him being attacked by dogs! What does a father tell their child who has witnessed this profound injustice and abuse? How can he possibly tell his children they live in a democracy that honors their rights and freedoms?
What is it going to take for this sort of treatment of United States citizens to end? When is the constitution going to be referred to again rather than the rule of corporations over government? When are proud fathers going to be able to tell their children that they live in a land that honors all of its citizens? When will drinking water that nourishes the land and its people be more important than the black fuel that pollutes our planet? As Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault II stated when he was interviewed early in the protest, “These grounds are resting places for our ancestors…in one day sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.” Has the constitution of the United States been turned into empty words by corporate power over founding principles? I trust that one day “We the People” will be more important than “Bottom Line.”
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