[Jeffrey Phillip Caesar is a leader of Rights & Democracy and lives in Burlington, VT. He recently returned from Standing Rock and is committed to bringing their struggle for Water Is Life to our communities]
Standing Rock: It Is Not Over
The inception of our country began with a war on Indigenous people. This war has continued both explicitly and implicitly in every shape and form imaginable. The significance of Standing Rock is tremendous on many levels. It is a real-time embodiment and cross-section of the historic pain brought to Indigenous people, alongside the contemporary issues that result. The international and domestic community has met the fight to protect our Nation’s waters with gripping support, as the Lakota-Sioux people are beyond reproach in their efforts, and everybody knows it.
The tacit backing by the Army Corps of Engineers and state support of Energy Transfer Partners development of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a symptom of historical violence towards Natives. It is met with complete disregard of the land, sacred culture, perspective and voice of those who truly founded THIS COUNTRY. The removal of indigenous peoples from ancestral land through Government action, the intentional sterilization and genocide of Native populations, the pandemic acceptance of overt racism towards Native Americans throughout the centuries continues today - In 2016…. No red blooded American can look in good consciousness towards Standing Rock, North Dakota and deny this fact.
Let’s be clear about something: We have NOT won. Do not become complacent by the Army Corps of Engineers denial of Dakota Access Pipeline Line permit. This is an intentional ploy to mislead you. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a common practice of the fossil fuel industry when met with opposition. DAPL will continue to drill once the outcry subsides.
I urge everyone to make it a priority to place the voice of the indigenous peoples at the front of all that we do moving forward. The existing “Democratic” establishment willfully ignores those who make it’s power possible. We can not build a truly progressive and inclusive society by ignoring the voice and the plight of Indigenous Americans.
- Jeffrey P. Caesar
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