Don’t let history repeat itself: plug the pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline would transfer crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The 1,172 mile pipeline will allow for the transport of 470,000 barrels of oil, which would be accessible to various markets including the Midwest, East Coast, and Gulf Coast markets. The pipeline is a $3.7 billion investment and  is going to create anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs, and 40 permanent jobs.
Of course, the construction of this pipeline is being met with opposition. The carbon dioxide emissions that the pipeline would be equivalent to the “average emissions of 21.4 million  US passenger vehicles.” However, the environment is not the only cause for concern. The Dakota Access Pipeline should not be built not only because of the environmental threats but more so because it impedes on ancestral Native American lands.
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation has been protesting the construction of the pipeline. Tribes are worried that the pipeline poses a serious threat to their only source of water, the Missouri River. As protesters camp out near the area of construction, they wear headbands and make signs saying, “Water is Life.” An oil spill would be detrimental to the reservation, and is a risk that should be taken seriously. An oil spill would endanger the lives of the Standing Rock, and should thus be prevented.
Not only is the Dakota Access Pipeline a threat to clean water, it also cuts through sacred areas and ancient burial sites, These sites are present on Cannonball Ranch, which was sold to Dakota Access, LLC. These ancestral lands are a pivotal part of the Standing Rock’s culture, and to push a pipeline through is incredibly disrespectful to the Native American community. Putting more emphasis on the construction of a pipeline in the hopes of creating jobs and lowering oil transportation costs does not mean that the lives of Native Americans can be forgotten.
If we look back at history, Native Americans have never been met with the respect they deserve. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced countless Native Americans to leave their land and travel to other areas on foot, often times without the proper supplies. This journey became known as the Trail of Tears. Native American children were put in secondary schools and forbidden from speaking their native languages and were forced to accept Christianity. Their tribal clothes were replaced with “proper” clothing.
The construction of the pipeline is just another way the country is showing indifference towards Native Americans, their culture, and their safety. Though the Indian Removal Act and the “assimilation schools” happened over a hundred years ago, they should not be forgotten.
This land belonged to Native Americans in the beginning, and white settlers, more or less, arrived and claimed it for their own without any pretext. Now, Dakota Access LLC is endangering the water supply of the reservation and is cutting through sacred land. This is all being done without consideration to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Sufficed to say, though history is determined to repeat itself, it should not.