Standing Rock has been a huge issue in the news for so many reasons. In the most general sense, it should teach us what our rights are, how we can enforce them and how we can support a cause, even if we can’t be there in person.
If you haven’t heard the latest update, there has been a temporary reprieve for Standing Rock but the fight isn’t over. The Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement they were granting to the project. I believe they chose to do so now, so that the Sioux Tribe would not be forced to continue their mission in the freezing temperatures. Once Spring arrives, things may change.
This article is to briefly explain the issues behind Standing Rock, how you can support the Sioux Tribe and also how you can support any other political issue that may arise in the future.
Standing Rock Issues (simplified)
So there is the environmental issue – putting an oil pipeline in that could contaminate drinking water, should it fail, is a risk.
At one point President-elect Trump had a financial interest in it creating a political conflict of interest. He has now sold all (or most) of his interest in it.
There is the Native American sovereignty rights issues – the U.S. Government is disrespecting the rights of the Native American territory and the water that flows through it as well as sacred sites.
Freedom of speech issues – they were threatening reporter Amy Goodman with jail time for simply reporting on the protests. She was facing criminal charges of rioting and trespassing – for reporting. The charges were thrown out. Amy Goodman hosts Democracy Now, an independent news source. https://www.democracynow.org/
There is the freedom to assemble issue – the “protectors” are being treated more like criminals. One went into cardiac arrest. A horse was killed. They are being attacked with rubber bullets, pepper spray, water cannons (in subfreezing weather), and other “weapons”. Attack dogs have bitten many “protectors”. The county sheriff is now being sued for using/authorizing excessive force. The Sioux call themselves protectors (of the environment) rather than protestors.
Action you can take
In a general sense, you should always talk to your local congressional representative about anything you want to influence politically. That is their job. They are supposed to listen to their constituents and do what they can to represent the interests of their constituents. If appropriate, talk to your local city council or take it higher, to your senators.
To find your congressperson, go to: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
To find your senators, go to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state.
With respect to Standing Rock, there has been a call to action floating around the internet. Specifically, interested persons are requested to contact the following offices:
701-328-2200 ND Office of Governor Dalrymple
701-328-8118 & 701-667-3330 Morton County Sheriff’s Department
701-333-2000 ND National Guard
202 224.2043 Senator of North Dakota
202-456-1111 President Obama
The difficulty in this plan, is that citizens from outside the state, technically have no influence on these state offices. However, showing our support is always a step in the right direction.
Contacting the President is usually of minimal help as their office is so busy with the issues of the world, that an individual complaint doesn’t go as far as it would when complaining to a local representative. However, that being said, when you care enough about an issue and cannot actually get out there and do anything to support your issue, calling the President is something that can easily be done.
You can also stop doing business with businesses that support what you are protesting. So in this case, there are many companies that are invested in this pipeline. You can withdraw your business. If enough people do this, it will have an impact. However, you also need to make it known that you are moving your business because of this reason. If you simply close an account, a huge conglomerate won’t know why. They will think it’s part of everyday business. Attached are a few links that discuss the businesses involved in this pipeline.
There are also many petitions circulating around the internet. Change.org has many petitions already circulating about issues people care about. If you don’t find one on your topic, they will let you make one.
With any issue you care about, don’t wait until the last minute to gather troops. Generate concern and circulate information early.