Voices from Michigan’s political parties on Standing Rock situation

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water protection blockade in the Dakotas is developing at lightening speed, as the Seven Council Fires nations converge on the site of what is the first unified gathering of this size since the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Readers may know this battle by the name of Little Big Horn. In the front line of the defense against the threat of water contamination and irreparable harm to the lands, they are raising national questions of sovereignty, environmentalism, and the rights of the people of all nations in U.S. borders.

 

Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater
Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater

In Michigan, this is a particularly relevant issue, as our water is also under direct threat by fracking, lobbying by special interests, and environmental pollutants. In light of the elections coming in November.  I asked the Michigan political parties for their statements on this situation. What they had to say is plain spoken and clear.

Green Party Michigan
Green Party Michigan

 

 

 

The Green Party of Michigan had this to say.

GPMI is against these pipelines from Keystone XL to this recent one. So we support those who protest. We agree with their slogan that water is life and oil is death. We also believe in the sovereignty of independent nations of native peoples and respect their wisdom of basing policy decisions on future impacts onto the 7th generation.

Matt Orlando, Libertarian gave his own personal viewpoint.

Matt Orlando (L)Candidate - Michigan's Congressional 9th District
Matt Orlando (L)Candidate – Michigan’s Congressional 9th District

With as many spills that have taken place over the years I understand the concerns of The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as Debra White Plume of the Oglala Lakota. Even with advancements in technology there are still possibilities of spills occurring. There are several cultural concerns as well that must be taken into consideration. For example The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has stated that that this area has sacred ancestral burial sites as well as other sacred sites. The thought of reducing our dependency on importing oil is great, however, not at the expense of Sioux sacred sites or our waterways.

I feel that The Standing Rock Sioux lands as well as the waterway should be off limits and construction should stop at the river. From there they can move the oil over land via tankers. I’ll gladly pay the few extra cents in gasoline to preserve The Standing Rock Sioux Tribes ancestral grounds and our waterways.

This issue is a hot one, as it concerns all faiths of this nation because “Water is Life”. Keep visiting this site for more updates.

 

The Fight for Clean Water

Do you know where your water comes from?

This week, amid a nearly complete media black-out, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began demonstrating against the construction of a pipeline through territory that was theirs, and under the Missouri River, less than a mile from their reservation…which gets its water directly from the river. The Dakota Access Pipeline will take oil from the shale fields in western North Dakota (acquired by fracking), and pipe it across 4 states into Illinois for processing.

DAPL route, image from Dakota Access Pipeline LLC, http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/about/route.html
DAPL route, image from Dakota Access Pipeline LLC, http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/

What started as a small protest with a couple hundred people now takes up two camps in rural North Dakota, and has also spread to the capital, Bismarck.  The various subdivisions of the Sioux tribes make up Seven Council Fires (called očhéthi šakówiŋ in Lakota) – traditional allies with a largely shared language, who came to each other’s aid when needed.  Not surprisingly, the various tribes of the očhéthi šakówiŋ have joined in, along with representatives of dozens of other Native tribes, from Alaska to Mexico (and there are rumors that Native Hawaiians are on their way too). 

In earlier planning for the pipeline, the route was scheduled to go north of Bismarck, but one of the reasons for rejecting this route was the risk of contaminating their water source.  If you’re at all familiar with US geography, you’ll remember that the Missouri river flows south and east from North Dakota and feeds the Mississippi River. Contamination of the river this far north risks the water source for anyone downstream, and wildlife habitats all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has appealed to the United Nations, citing failures to follow treaties, and a court order declaring the protests “unlawful” – as if one’s right to free speech is negated because a company has lots of money.

The protesters, calling themselves protectors of the water and of unči makȟá (grandmother earth) have been, according to internal reports, peaceful. The camps are asking for no guns, no weapons…just prayer. They are making sure all people, from young children through elders, are fed, clothed, and receiving medical care as needed. The state, meanwhile, has instituted road blocks to keep people away, has reported gunshots and pipe bombs, and has declared a state of emergency.

Mni wičhóni – water is life – is a common understanding in Lakota. The only thing we need more than water is air. 

You can help by signing this petition:  https://www.change.org/p/jo-ellen-darcy-stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline

Or by donating for supplies and/or funding for Camp of the Sacred Stones:  https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp