On Sunday afternoon, December 4, tribe members and their allies cried tears of joy after the US Army said it would not – for now – allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
The Army says the plan should be carefully restudied, and alternative routes should be more deeply considered.
The Army’s statement does not rule out approval for the current plan in the future. And with President Obama leaving office in January, many questions still remain about what’s next for the project.
If you have ever paddled a canoe, napped in a hammock, savored a barbecue, smoked tobacco or tracked a hurricane across Cuba, you have paid tribute to the Taíno, the Indians who invented those words long before they welcomed Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492.
Their world, which had its origins among the Arawak tribes of the Orinoco Delta, gradually spread from Venezuela across the Antilles in waves of voyaging and settlement begun around 400 B.C. Mingling with people already established in the Caribbean, they developed self-sufficient communities on the island of Hispaniola, in what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic; in Jamaica and eastern Cuba; in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.
They cultivated yuca, sweet potatoes, maize, beans and other crops as their culture flourished, reaching its peak by the time of European contact.
Some scholars estimate the Taíno population may have reached more than three million on Hispaniola alone as the 15th century drew to a close, with smaller settlements elsewhere in the Caribbean. Whatever the number, the Taíno towns described by Spanish chroniclers were densely settled, well organized and widely dispersed.
“Very few Indians were left after 50 years,” said Ricardo Alegría, a Puerto Rican historian and anthropologist I interviewed before his death in July 2011. He had combed through Spanish archives to track the eclipse of the Taíno.
“Their culture was interrupted by disease, marriage with Spanish and Africans, and so forth, but the main reason the Indians were exterminated as a group was sickness,” he told me.
He ran through the figures from his native island:
“By 1519, a third of the aboriginal population had died because of smallpox. You find documents very soon after that, in the 1530’s, in which the question came from Spain to the governor. ‘How many Indians are there? Who are the chiefs?’
The answer was none. They are gone.”
Alegría paused before adding: “Some remained probably … but it was not that many.”
I’m 13 years-old and as an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I’ve lived my whole life by the Missouri River. It runs by my home in Fort Yates North Dakota and my great grandparents original home was along the Missouri River in Cannon Ball. The river is a crucial part of our lives here on the Standing Rock Reservation.
But now a private oil company wants to build a pipeline that would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation and if we don’t stop it, it will poison our river and threaten the health of my community when it leaks.
In Dakota/Lakota we say “mni Wiconi.” Water is life.
Native American people know that water is the first medicine not just for us, but for all human beings living on this earth.
We, the Standing Rock Youth, oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the Missouri and Cannon Ball River because it poses a serious threat to our water and our land. This campaign echoes our belief that together, we can protect our water and our future.
Join our mission for clean safe water by signing our petition urging the Army Corps of Engineer NOT to sign off on a construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline. With YOUR help we can work to maintain and protect this sacred land.
The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation was originally established as part of the Great Sioux Reservation.
Article 2 of the Treaty of Fort Laramie of April 29, 1868 described the boundaries of the Great Sioux Reservation, as commencing on the 46th parallel of north latitude to the east bank of Missouri River, south along the east bank to the Nebraska line, then west to the 104th parallel of west longitude.
The Great Sioux Reservation comprised all of present-day South Dakota west of the Missouri River, including the sacred Black Hills and the life-giving Missouri River. Under article 11 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, the Great Sioux Nation retained off-reservation hunting rights to a much larger area, south to the Republican and Platte Rivers, and east to the Big Horn Mountains.
Under article 12, no cession of land would be valid unless approved by three-fourths of the adult males. Nevertheless, the Congress unilaterally passed the Act of February 28, 1877 (19 stat. 254), removing the Sacred Black Hills from the Great Sioux Reservation.
The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is situated in North and South Dakota.
The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, are members of the Dakota and Lakota nations.
“Dakota” and “Lakota” mean “friends” or “allies.”
The people of these nations are often called “Sioux”, a term that dates back to the seventeenth century when the people were living in the Great Lakes area.
The Ojibwa called the Lakota and Dakota “Nadouwesou” meaning “adders.”
This term, shortened and corrupted by French traders, resulted in retention of the last syllable as “Sioux.” There are various Sioux divisions and each has important cultural, linguistic, territorial and political distinctions.
Colin Kaepernick has awakened some serious issues for the caucasian European humans in The United Slave States Of AmeriKKKlan. See, in AmeriKKKa, we The People Of Color, are aware of racism on a daily basis.
We The People Of Color understand there is NO such thing as a “post racial America.” We The People Of Color live racism everyday, no matter what our so called “station” in life happens to be in our minds.
~Mr. Militant Negro~
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2,500 Native Americans Successfully Block Oil Pipeline Construction
State of Emergency Declared
“This pipeline’s construction is being carried out without the Tribe’s free, prior and informed consent in direct contradiction to their clearly expressed wishes.”
Last week, a few dozen Native Americans showed up to protest the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline that would cross right through their sacred land. As word spread, however, the few dozen turned into more than 2,500 native Americans. Because of the large turnout, a brief victory ensued for the people after the developers of the four-state oil pipeline agreed to halt construction until after a federal hearing in the coming week.
In spite of both the company building the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, and the federal government applying pressure, the Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have remained resilient.
On Tuesday, August 23, the government placed a restraining order on the protesters prohibiting them “from interfering with its (Energy Transfer Partners’) right to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline (the “Pipeline”) in accordance with all local, state, and federal approvals it has obtained.”
However, the protestors remained steadfast — and peaceful.
“As we have said from the beginning, demonstrations regarding the Dakota Access pipeline must be peaceful,” Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II said in a statement to reporters on August 17.
“There is no place for threats, violence or criminal activity. That is simply not our way. So, the Tribe will do all it can to see that participants comply with the law and maintain the peace.
That was our position before the injunction, and that is our position now.”
“The pipeline presents a threat to our lands, our sacred sites and our waters, and the people who will be affected must be heard,” Archambault told reporters. “Peaceful demonstration can be very powerful and effective.
But the power of peaceful demonstration is only diminished by those who would turn to violence or illegality. We cannot let that happen. The Tribe is committed to doing all it can to make sure that the demonstrations are conducted in the right way.”
In spite of the threat to the sacred land and the unscrupulous action of the state in taking that land on behalf of big oil, government officials maintain their justification.
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The Taíno were an Arawak people who were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico.
In the Greater Antilles, the northern Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas, they were known as the Lucayans. They spoke the Taíno language, one of theArawakan languages. The ancestors of the Taíno entered the Caribbean from South America.
At the time of contact, the Taíno were divided into three broad groups, known as the Western Taíno (Jamaica, most of Cuba, and the Bahamas), the Classic Taíno (Hispaniola and Puerto Rico) and the Eastern Taíno (northern Lesser Antilles), and other groups of Taíno nations of Florida, such as the Tequesta, Calusa, Jaega, Ais, and other groups. Taíno groups were in conflict with the Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles.
Christopher Columbus is known for “discovering America” and is honored for this with a national holiday and general acclaim by the American people and their government. While this is a nice narrative that countless Americans can recite, Columbus should be better known for one of his statements regarding the native populations of the places he came across, specifically that “with 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Columbus isn’t the hero that everyone makes him out to be.
First off, he didn’t “discover America”— people had already been living on that continent for ages. He wasn’t even the first traveler to come across America, as Vikings arrived in America around 1000 A.D. and there are legends of Chinese explorers and Irish monks coming to the continent earlier than Columbus.
So what exactly is Columbus’s legacy?
It is that of a slaver, murderer, and thief who was willing to do anything in order to secure glory and riches for himself.