I am the first to admit, I have not been following the details of Standing Rock anywhere near the degree of others who post their feelings on Facebook. However, I am fascinated by how this is playing out and the comments I read, almost all of which are in support of the Sioux. Still, no matter what your stance is on this matter, there is much to consider before jumping on the bandwagon of either side.
- Many who support the Sioux mention how important it is to allow Native Americans to keep their ancestral land and how our government, and big business, has no right to take it. Some mention the importance of returning these lands to the First Americans and yet they forget, all of this nation was once ancestral land to them. All of it was holy at one time. Do you really believe what you think or are you just drawing a line in the dirt over this?
- None of us, it does not matter who we are, own an ounce of U.S. soil. It’s sad to think, but at any time, the government can step in and take what we think is ours, or at least attempt to. It is called “eminent domain.” Contracts, treaties, and agreements get tossed out the window once Uncle Sam thinks it is in his best interest to take what we think we own. If this can happen to the Sioux, it can happen to you.
- Pipelines seem to piss us off only when they are on U.S. soil. They can be oil, water, or natural gas, they are not welcome in the U.S. However, we have no problem with them in the Middle East, Canada, Mexico, Russia, China, Brazil, or anywhere else and because we don’t, we end up paying to have fuel shipped to us from half way around the world at a higher rate than it can be done from our own backyard.
We think we are promoting a green world doing this, but all we are doing is shifting the environmental hazard to somewhere out of sight and out of mind. This is why we get ourselves stuck in wars in regions we do not need to be in. How many American soldiers lives are worth losing to keep oil flowing in the Middle East for our consumption?
- If not here, then where? If we don’t like the loss of American lives abroad, and if we do not like pipelines on our soil, where do we get vital resources from? It’s not like we can flip a switch and just rely on the sun or wind. This is a major undertaking and if it does not involve the major players in the energy field today, the Chevrons, Exxons, and BP’s of the world will block or stall us.
Along with a wealth of power, these companies also provide a wealth of jobs. Are we really prepared to lose more jobs? Ask coal miners how they feel about being out of work and on public assistance. We also fail to realize the environmental impact that does come with solar or wind power. Everything comes with a price when it comes to water and energy. This planet was not made for over six billion consumers.
- There is no moral high ground in this. You can stand by the Sioux or stand by the developers all you want, but wherever you stand, you also stand against something else. Our past is in conflict with our future. For those who look forward to our development, this is an example of the lack of respect and value some have for our history. For those who stand in support of the Sioux, it is an example of our failure to see how important it is to meet the needs of our future before it is too late.
- There is no win/win here, which is why politicians will drag their feet. Leaders will have to make decisions that they know will cost them votes down the road. This is why there is a waiting game going on. This will play out when we are about as far away from the next election cycle as possible because our leaders know most voters will have forgotten about Standing Rock when it is time to vote again.
- This is not a Native American version of the Bundy clan. This is about BIG MONEY and the future development of this nation and not some pissed off cattle ranchers. We are lagging behind so many other nations when it comes to our infrastructure and planning for not just the rest of this century, but the next as well.
America will not remain strong if it lacks sufficient energy, water, transportation, and development to keep up with the booming growth going on in China, India, Indonesia, and even Europe. What kind of nation do we want to leave to our future children? What kind of values do we want to pass on? There is just no way we can stand pat and remain relevant for much longer. Who or what is going to give?
So before you jump on a bandwagon and blindly support the Sioux, or before you toss aside our history and agreements and support big business, dig into the complexity of this issue. It is not a simple case of Government v Native Americans. It is also not about just what is playing out currently, but as much about our past and future and which of the two we value most.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.