30 October 2016

Pipeline

Straddling the border between the states of North Dakota and South Dakota there's a large indian reservation called Standing Rock. It has a land area of over 3,500 square miles and is an echo of times long gone when North America was home to hundreds of different native tribes - each with its own customs and lifestyle. Generally, these first people lived in peace - like the aboriginals of Australia - close to Nature and respectful of it. When white men arrived, the injustices meted out upon native Americans were unspeakable but it is a tragic story that is not over - it continues to this very day.

Standing Rock reservation is home to some eight thousand descendants of the Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Sioux tribes. The land is ancestral and it was here that their indian forefathers hunted  great buffalo herds - taking only what they needed. Despite the legacy of sadness that pervades all indian reservations, Standing Rock would no doubt have remained a quiet and forgotten corner of America until the arrival of a  company called Energy Transfer Partners earlier this year.

Their mission is to build a dirty great $3.8 billion oil pipeline all the way from North Dakota down to Illinois. The course of this pipeline passes through native American lands, very close to Standing Rock and seriously threatening the reservation's only water sources. With the support of government agencies, this company have sought to ride roughshod over any protests - legitimate or otherwise. Interestingly a certain Donald J. Trump is believed to have up to $1 million invested in ETP.

Native Americans from all over the country have arrived at Standing Rock  to populate a peaceful protest camp as ETP have used both private security guards and state troopers to ensure that the pipeline work at Standing Rock continues On Friday 141 protesters were arrested - mostly on questionable charges. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used as sections of the protest camp were destroyed by the police.

The political media organisation "Democracy Now" have been following developments at Standing Rock all this year. Their lead reporter, Amy Goodman, was even charged with riot though how anyone could riot while interviewing protesters with a microphone is beyond my understanding. It was another trumped up charge, if you will pardon the expression.

Former Vice President and thwarted Presidential candidate Al Gore has spoken powerfully in support of the Standing Rock protest. He said,  "The courage and eloquence of the Standing Rock Sioux in calling all of us to recognise that in their words, “Water is Life,” should be applauded, not silenced by those who are driven by their business model to continue spewing harmful global warming pollution into our Earth’s atmosphere."

For fuller information about what has been happening at Standing Rock, go to the Democracy Now website. 

21 comments:

  1. Pipeline companies are their own worst enemy. They build a shoddy product that quite often fails. Then they wonder why people object to building new pipelines.

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    1. Living in Canada I guess you know a lot more about pipeline construction than I do Red. When they leak or break the consequences can be devasating for the environment.

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  2. This is just awful. Unfortunately, everything is so bad in American politics right now that I'm afraid this issue isn't getting the press it deserves.

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    1. I think the lack of news about this pipeline protest has been deliberate - an attempt to throw a cloak over it all.

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  3. Why is it that every country which shouts about being a wonderful Democracy, frequently proves it isn't?

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    1. That's a very salient question CG but I don't know the answer.

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    2. Democracy is based on the idea of everyone being valuable and having a contribution to make and as such it is appreciated by the previously voiceless.
      After it raises everyone to something resembling equality, democracy becomes a victim of it's own success as people forget what they have been delivered from, take the privileges of democracy for granted and go back to their unengaged or exploitative ways

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  4. I am afraid that this is so true for all 'native' indigenous peoples - for the US think also Australia and New Zealand for a start (although I do believe NZ is a little more progressive)

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    1. I admire the way NZ has given the legacy of The Maori a front seat in their national identity.

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  5. I don't mean to make this a parochial issue, but you can draw a parallel with the Heathrow decision to destroy villages and communities that have stood there for hundreds of years, and all in the name of commerce.

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    1. I can see the parallel you are indicating Ian. I wonder if the third runway will ever be built because Brexit meanss a return to medieval living standards. We'll need the Heathrow money to feed our carthorses and thatch our mud huts.

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  6. Would make a good film.

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    1. Yes. Especially if it ends with Energy Transfer Partners being chased off into the sunset - never to be seen again.

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  7. I love Democracy Now and Amy Goodman. I used to listen to that show all the time when I lived in the states. I don't know enough about this issue to take a position but it sounds like a pretty dubious plan to me.

    I'm not sure how peaceful Native American tribes really were before the advent of the European colonists. I think they actually clashed on a small scale fairly frequently. But their population numbers weren't crazy out of control like our human population in today's modern world, so generally speaking there were more resources to share.

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    1. Point taken about native Americans. They sought to live in harmony with their surroundings but even before the fatal impact with Europeans they would fight their corners when this was necessary but i believe that in most ways their lifestyle was better for this planet.

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  8. Dirty works at the crossroads!

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    1. I wonder why I never came across that expression before.

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  9. Your blog is the first time I hear of this, it certainly has not been mentioned in my weekly paper or on telly here.
    Sadly, the worldwide hunger for energy and heat is insatiable, so even though we all KNOW we should start using less fossile and more renewable sources, nothing much seems to be changing. People will still insist using air conditioning in their homes, offices and cars, and drive every little distance instead of using their own two feet. I know we can not return to the sustainable way of life of our ancestors, but maybe one day we will be forced to. Until that happens, I'm afraid there will always be those who build pipelines in order to satisfy the demand.

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    1. I know what you are saying and it's true but surely they could show a little respect for the indian people - perhaps avoiding the reservation's only water source and building a new school or community centre.

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  10. Yesterday, there was a post on my FB page that said (and rightly so) that someone ought to take a huge picture of Mr. Weiner's penis and send it on up there to North Dakota so that the press would begin to cover the travesty that is the protest in the Standing Rock community. Thank goodness some judge decreed that Amy had no right being arrested in the first place!!

    By the way, the oil set to go through that pipeline is Canadian and the company that wants to do it is Canadian. Not that I have anything against Canada, mind you, but WTF? String that damn pipeline all the way west to east across your own country, not north to south across mine!

    Some say it will create jobs. Really? 300 at the most for just a few months and then just a handful of jobs for the remainder of the time. Well, until it blows up or springs a massive leak and then OUR first responders will have to clean up the mess from Canada!

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