The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Dakota Access pipeline should not be built

The American government has long been known to discriminate against Native Americans for supposedly “various” reasons. However, regarding the Dakota Access pipeline, racism against indigenous cultures has undeniably reared its ugly head.

According to Time Magazine, the Dakota Access pipeline is supposed to be built by a Texas energy company. It will carry up to 570,000 barrels’ crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois each day. 

The article states that the pipeline would be a key conduit connecting oil wells in the state’s Bakkens Shale, where a development of fracking has revealed billions of gallons of new oil. 

This has also opened up economic opportunities in the Gulf Coast, Midwest and East Coast. The $4 billion pipeline was proposed in 2014, and was planned to be complete this year. 

According to CNN, there are many pro’s and con’s to this massive and expensive pipeline. The largest pro of the pipeline is it would allow America to rely less on foreign oil. 

However, the cons seem to outweigh this by far. CNN states the pipeline would only fuel climate change and would damage the burial grounds, prayer sites and sacred land owned by the Sioux tribe. 

Although the U.S. Army Corps approved the project in July, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Corps over the construction. 

The Sioux claim the pipeline “threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance of the Tribe.” 

The article stated that the Army Corps has yet to release a comment, but others have begun to demand the pipeline not go through or damage sacred land. 

I will never be able to fully understand what it is like to own or be a part of a sacred area, but regardless, I can fully agree that America is overly dependent on crude oil. I love the idea of buying products that are a little more “homegrown,” but I am not a fan of big corporations—i.e. the government—destroying our environment with unnecessary fossil fuels. 

It is a known fact that no matter how “safe” a pipeline is, there is always a chance of massive oil leaks or worse—explosions that do a detrimental amount of damage to the environment and people around them. 

If the environmental detriment does not concern you, then what about the strife of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe? 

I believe the Sioux Tribe has every right to be upset, heartbroken and outraged over the Dakota Access pipeline. 

During westward expansion, the U.S. government initially destroyed almost all Native American land and culture, which was undoubtedly wrong. We have no right to further damage sacred Native American land or harm the Sioux defending it.

Huffington Post shared an article stating that peaceful protests against the pipeline quickly turned violent once unnecessary police force was used. Many of the protestors claim they were yanked up police, strip-searched, locked in dog kennels and marked with numbers so officials could identify them. 

One protestor, Trenton Casillas-Bakeberg, was even ripped from a prayer ceremony, arrested and put in a dog kennel at the jail in Mandan, North Dakota. The article also states that young teenage boys were being shot off horses. 

President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama visited the area in summer of 2014, and after Obama heard the devastating stories from the children, he is reported to have cried in the Oval Office. 

However, two years later, President Obama has made no further comments about the pipeline. 

I will most likely not have the opportunity to physically stand with the people of Sioux Tribe, but I stand with them in my heart. As a country, we have to become more reliant on natural energy and become more respectful of indigenous cultures. 

Instead, we shamefully focus on money these big corporations stand to gain. In this case, it is time to stand with the Sioux—not the U.S. government. 

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Dakota Access pipeline should not be built