We all know that the best time for the White House to do a news dump is during a Friday, and like a normal Administration this could be the first normal thing Trump has done to bury a huge story. Water Protectors have been, for the most part, peaceful for months, praying; and now we are finding out that the Tangerine Tyrant is going to clear the field, as it were. Yes, once again the Federal Government is poised to be the bad guy with Indigenous relations. It is true that The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have asked Water Protestors to leave, and requested Federal help. We can only hope the help will be as peaceful as the Water Protectors unlike past times the Federal Government helped.
The problem is not that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is coming in to help, but about how they will behave during the process. For example, we all remember the tragic killing of Dallas Police during a Black Lives Matter protest. Before all the facts were in, the Dallas Police Twitter account, wrongly identified a suspect, who then became the target of death threats.
The stated reason for the closure is waste removal, which, if not removed safely, can have an environmental impact on the land the tribe is trying to protect in the first place. Some water protesters resisted, prompting the Chairman of the tribe to call for unity, saying, “without unity we lose”.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has vowed to fight in the courts, demanding a full environmental impact review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If the pipeline spills, Trump’s campaign promise of “crystal clear, clean water” will just more empty words from the Orange Fuhrer . As I’ve reported, a Canadian oil pipeline recently spilled and shut down drinking water for two cities. The fact is, all pipelines eventually leak. An accident with the Dakota Access Pipeline would put the lives and health of millions who rely on the water at risk. As self-identified water protector, Aries Yumul, told Business Insider, “Our aquifers and rivers are fed by this river. If it were to get contaminated, it would affect all of the tribal nations. The idea of that … it would be a death sentence at this point.”
Despite being ignored by the corporate media, the Water Protectors were able to gain national attention and support thanks to social media, liberal outlets like RDT and some high-profile supporters. Unlike the Bundy Ranch protesters who wanted to use women & children as human shields and were more than happy to aim their weapons at the heads of civil servants from the Bureau of Land Management, the water protectors have been mostly being non-violent. Given the long history of betrayal between Native people and the government, the fear is that Federal intervention will not go well. The best we can hope for is that the Water Protectors listen to the safety concerns of the tribal elders and peacefully depart from the camp.
Trump has already taken to Twitter in an attempt to justify a strong-man Federal crackdown. Any type of violence will only give the Liar in Chief an excuse to undermine everything the peaceful Water Protesters have accomplished so far.
We’ll keep you posted.