Letter to the Editor: Lacy Tooker-Kirkevold and Haylee Worm

Skimming through the latest edition of the Concordia, I was pleasantly surprised at the thought provoking story about the Divest Concordia movement started by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group on campus; however, as a continued to read the paper, I noticed an interesting, yet controversial opinion piece regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The article, which argued that the pipeline might be the best option, was well written and well researched, but it also seemed to miss the point of these protests. This about so much more than money and even just environmental protection. This is about human rights, in particular, Native American rights.

There are currently 562 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States. These tribes are considered domestically dependent nations by the government, but under the Indian Trust Settlement, the government has a moral responsibility, and legal duty to protect these tribes and it is failing.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct threat to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The proposed pipeline will run 1,100 miles from oil fields in North Dakota to a river port in Illinois and cross the tribes sole water source twice. The federal government did not consult the Native American peoples before the building process was set to begin, causing justified outrage among the Native community for the lack of regard to their culture.

Today, over 362 tribes have joined forces to stand with Standing Rock in an attempt to stop this pipeline from going forth. This pipeline is not only a threat to the water source for Standing Rock, but it is a threat to the federally recognized legitimacy of Native American tribes as a whole. Since the United States’ inception, the government has at- tempted to smother Native populations to maximize their benefits. This has to stop now.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct infringement on Native American culture, rights, and sovereignty. Not only will this pipeline harm their sole water source, but it shows the governments lack of sympathy and acknowledgment of Native American tribes. The building of the pipeline must be stopped.

If you are interested in showing your support to the people of Standing Rock, you can drop supplies such as winter clothing, water jugs, and hygiene products in the atrium until Friday Oct. 14. These supplies will be delivered to the camp over the weekend as Concordia students stand together in solidarity with Native peoples. We need to speak up now to show the government that we respect and support Native rights and that they should do the same.

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