It’s Time for Members of Congress to Show Up and Stand Up for Standing Rock

Tomorrow, members of Congress will have an opportunity to show up and stand up for Standing Rock.

Wednesday’s Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing sounds like a snoozefest — “Modernizing Energy and Electricity Delivery Systems: Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Infrastructure Improvement and Expansion ” — but witnesses for this hearing include Chad Harrison, the councilman at large for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Joey Mahmoud, the project director for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Have no doubt: The injustices taking place at Standing Rock this very minute will certainly be on the agenda.

Last week, the U.S. Army indicated it will grant the final permit to complete construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. This decision comes in response to a January 24 presidential memorandum encouraging the Army Corps of Engineers to override environmental review and speed up pipeline construction. The company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, hasn’t wasted any time. Drilling resumed last week while a federal judge in Washington, D.C., yesterday denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a temporary injunction to halt the company’s construction of the pipeline.

So it is safe to assume that the lack of meaningful tribal consultation, short-circuiting of legally required environmental review, and failure to provide proper notice to Congress around Standing Rock are fair game for Wednesday's hearing. But members of Congress should also address the federal government’s failure to protect the constitutional and human rights of Native American water protectors and others assembled at Standing Rock in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Last Friday, the ACLU renewed its ask that the Department of Justice investigate law enforcement’s use of force and militarized response against Standing Rock protestors. We know law enforcement have used armored vehicles, automatic rifles, sound cannons, water cannons, and other offensive military weapons and equipment in possible violation of the Constitution and federal laws. We also asked DOJ to send federal observers to Standing Rock, echoing a request from members of Congress to protect protesters from civil rights and civil liberties abuses.

 Last Friday, we learned that the federal government has intervened, but not as we have asked. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation  Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating water protectors and other activists at Standing Rock. The FBI began contacting organizers in the weeks that followed the inauguration.

Unfortunately, this is disturbing, but not surprising. We know the FBI has surveilled the Black Lives Matter movement, too.

There is a lot to talk about on Wednesday. To ensure there’s a robust discussion, here are three questions that members of Congress should ask themselves and witnesses:

  1. Will you stand up and defend the tribal sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux including the protection of sacred burial sites and access to safe and clean water?
  2. Will you stand up and demand that DOJ investigate possible civil rights violations at Standing Rock?
  3. Will you stand up and call for an end to the FBI’s unwarranted surveillance of an indigenous-led non-violent movement?

When it comes to Standing Rock, the world is watching. Tomorrow is the time for members of Congress to let their constituents know on the record whose side they’re on. 

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Anonymous

We need to save fossil fuels & coals. President DJ Trump is wrong to promote coal & fossil fuels such as natural gas, because we need to save the fossil fuels. I support nuclear/atomic energy & I also support geothermal, hydroelectric dams. With global warming, it’s possible that global warming would still be happening naturally. Yes, there’s ideology on the global warming topic. But we’re better off w/o pollution & we’re better of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I compare global warming to the tobacco & emphysema. Some people get emphysema because they have bad genes and some people get emphysema because they smoke tobacco. Then there are people who use tobacco their whole life, but do not die of any tobacco disease because they have good genes. But it’s better to not use tobacco. Not all smokers get emphysema, but if you smoke, you raise your risks of emphysema. Global warming discussions on pollution must be thought of the same way as tobacco. It’s better to not have pollution, incl. greenhouse gas pollution. It’s possible that even w/o greenhouse gas pollution, that global warming would still happen, because earth’s temperatures would change regradless. But cleaning pollution is a good idea.

Anonymous

I have other things to add. To repeat, I'm against the building of the Keystone Pipeline because we need to save fossil fuels. We need to use more efficient energy sources. We need to build newer nuclear powerplants-physicists and engineers have figured out how to use nuclear using less Uranium and which lasts longer and Thorium must be perfected. We must also again use hydroelectric dams and geothermal. & let's debunk the idea that wind and solar are green-they use more land, more materials and you get less energy. The windmills kill endangered species.

With that said, wanted to also comment on another topic aclu did here https://www.aclu.org/blog/today-we-honor-native-americans-and-not-other-guy Now if American Indians (Native Americans) or any1 else want to celebrate Indigenous People's day, then it's their free will right. I hope American Indians or Native Americans also support people's free will right to celebrate Columbus Day. If people especially European Christians such as Italians and Spaniards want to celebrate Columbus Day or which in Iberoamerica is called el dia de la hispanidad (la fiesta nacional de espana in Spain), then I will support their free will to celebrate this day.

It’s likely the Native Americans who Christopher Columbus discovered were not the original people. We know the history from 1492 in that both the Tainos and Caribs were fighting each other for land, but we don’t know what the history was before 1492, as we don’t know who was there in 1482, 1472, etc. We don’t know how long the Caribs and Tainos or Arawaks were there, how much of the land was originally theirs and whether there were other tribes living there before who were killed or expelled.

It’s possible that in 1462, there were other Natives living there before the Caribs and Tainos drove them out either by war or threat of war-after that the territory fighting left was between the Caribs and Tainos. If this is true, then the Tainos and Canibs would not be the original inhabitants, the original inhabitants would be those who were there before them.

Other things is that to say a Native American tribe (for eg. Cherokees) own the entire USA (or the North American continent) is like saying that China owns all of Asia because they're Chinese. American Indian or Native American tribes are distinct. You define let's say Cherokee territory by where they lived, raised their families, buried their dead, hunted for land and waters where they fished.

With was land stolen from Native Americans or American Indians? Wars were used by Whites to take lands from American Indians, only this topic is more complex and complicated. Yes, you have Europeans taking territory from Native Americans who were the original owners, who always had the territory without taking it from other tribes, so that would be stealing from original owners.

In some cases, Europeans took away Native American conquests such as los conquistadores conquest of the Aztecs and Incas would be taking away Native American conquests. Los conquistadores would not be the original owners, only the Aztecs and Incas would also not be the original owners as Aztecs and Incas got their lands conquering other Indian tribes before they were conquered, so that could be called taking American Indian conquests. Of course, the Spanish and Portuguese in conquering Iberoamerica & colonization did things for Spain and Portugal's (Brazil) interests.

With territory, in some cases you have Native American tribes abandoning a territory. If a territory is abandoned, then it would not be stealing if some1 else (Native American or White) settles on the territory as it's whoever wants it and arrives there first, gets it.

In some cases you had virgin territory in the Americas-lands which were not even touched. If a land had never been lived on (or even known about), then whoever finds it and settles there gets the territory (be they White or Native American). Here it would not be taking Native American lands.

With Solutrians or Solutrians-is it possible there were Europeans who immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age? As they have found DNA mummied remains of Whites in the Americas (dating thousands of years) and as some Native American art depicts people with light skin, it's possible that individual Whites could have immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age, though it would be a small #. Solutrians or Solutreans would not own all of the Americas just as Cherokees would not own all of the USA. That also wouldn't change the fact that treatment of Native Americans or American Indians was sometimes arrogant, but it's possible individual Europeans or Solutrians could have immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age.

With stealing American Indian or Native American territory-is it because wars were used to take land from them or is the main meaing of this that the Whites were better @ being greedy ? When American Indians or Native Americans wanted territory, they used wars to get it from a neighboring tribe. In some cases, American Indian or Native American tribes would kill a neighboring tribes men in a war and then take the women and girls as their wives. Quanah Parker was the last Comanche chief-his mom was kidnapped when she was 9 years old and forced to become a Comanche chief's wife.

I’ve found with Native Americans or American Indians is that many times when they talk of ‘stolen land’ what they imply is ‘you did what I wanted to do.’ There was greed & arrogance on both the Whites & Native American sides. Yes, this nations treatment of American Indians was arrogant & wars were used to take land from American Indians. Truth about greed is that Whites were just better in greed. Before the Whites, American Indians when they wanted land be it living grounds, hunting grounds, burial grounds & fishing waters got it from other tribes by wars. When the Whites came, they wanted the same things & more be they metals such as iron, gold, silver, copper & bronze.

Truth is that when people get advanced & complicated in their technologies, the more they want. People are just potentially greedy. If American Indian tribes (esp. tribes like the Sioux, Comanches, Apaches, Aztecs, etc.) had better weapons & capabilities, they would have been conquering other places in the world & imposing their laws on others. Whites ( I’m not White) had better military capability or capacity, but when it comes to thinking, they’re the same. People are the same everywhere-Whites, Blacks, American Indians, etc. That doesn’t excuse fact this nation’s treatment of American Indians was arrogant but when you have the view of ‘you did what I wanted to do’ then you’re no better than what you say to be against.

Anonymous

EDIT TO EARLIER POST FOR ERRORS AND ADDITIONS.

I have other things to add. To repeat, I'm against the building of the Keystone Pipeline because we need to save fossil fuels. We need to use more efficient energy sources. We need to build newer nuclear powerplants-physicists and engineers have figured out how to use nuclear using less Uranium and which lasts longer and Thorium must be perfected. We must also again use hydroelectric dams and geothermal. & let's debunk the idea that wind and solar are green-they use more land, more materials and you get less energy. The windmills kill endangered species.

With that said, wanted to also comment on another topic aclu did here https://www.aclu.org/blog/today-we-honor-native-americans-and-not-other-guy Now if American Indians (Native Americans) or any1 else want to celebrate Indigenous People's day, then it's their free will right. I hope American Indians or Native Americans also support people's free will right to celebrate Columbus Day. If people especially European Christians such as Italians and Spaniards want to celebrate Columbus Day or which in Iberoamerica is called el dia de la hispanidad (la fiesta nacional de espana in Spain), then I will support their free will to celebrate this day.

It’s likely the Native Americans who Christopher Columbus discovered were not the original people. We know the history from 1492 in that both the Tainos and Caribs were fighting each other for land, but we don’t know what the history was before 1492, as we don’t know who was there in 1482, 1472, etc. We don’t know how long the Caribs and Tainos or Arawaks were there, how much of the land was originally theirs and whether there were other tribes living there before who were killed or expelled ?

It’s possible that in 1462, there were other Natives living there before the Caribs and Tainos drove them out either by war or threat of war-after that the territory fighting left was between the Caribs and Tainos. If this is true, then the Tainos and Canibs would not be the original inhabitants, the original inhabitants would be those who were there before them.

Other things is that to say a Native American tribe (for eg. Cherokees) own the entire USA (or the North American continent) is like saying that China owns all of Asia because they're Chinese. American Indian or Native American tribes are distinct. You define let's say Cherokee territory by where they lived, raised their families, buried their dead, hunted for food and waters where they fished.

With was land stolen from Native Americans or American Indians? Wars were used by Whites to take lands from American Indians, only this topic is more complex and complicated. Yes, you have Europeans taking territory from Native Americans who were the original owners, who always had the territory without taking it from other tribes, so that would be stealing from original owners.

In some cases, Europeans took away Native American conquests such as los conquistadores conquest of the Aztecs and Incas would be taking away Native American conquests. Los conquistadores would not be the original owners, only the Aztecs and Incas would also not be the original owners as Aztecs and Incas got their lands conquering other Indian tribes before they were conquered, so that could be called taking American Indian conquests. Of course, the Spanish and Portuguese in conquering Iberoamerica & colonization did things for Spain and Portugal's (Brazil being a Portuguese colony) interests.

With territory, in some cases you have Native American tribes abandoning a territory. If a territory is abandoned, then it would not be stealing if some1 else (Native American or White) settles on the territory as it's whoever wants it and arrives there first, gets it.

In some cases you had virgin territory in the Americas-lands which were not even touched. If a land had never been lived on (or even known about), then whoever finds it and settles there gets the territory (be they White or Native American). Here it would not be taking Native American lands.

With Solutrians or Solutrians-is it possible there were Europeans who immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age? As they have found DNA mummied remains of Whites in the Americas and as some Native American art depicts people with light skin, it's possible that individual Whites could have immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age, though it would be a small #. Solutrians or Solutreans would not own all of the Americas just as Cherokees would not own all of the USA. That also wouldn't change the fact that treatment of Native Americans or American Indians was sometimes arrogant, but it's possible individual Europeans or Solutrians could have immigrated to the Americas during the Ice Age.

Before continuing, will say that I am OK with American Indian reservations not paying property taxes and I am OK with Indian reservations only allowing Native Americans to live on reservations, it is their house.

With stealing American Indian or Native American territory-is it because wars were used to take land from them or is the main meaing of this that the Whites were better @ being greedy ? When American Indians or Native Americans wanted territory, they used wars to get it from a neighboring tribe. In some cases, American Indian or Native American tribes would kill a neighboring tribes men in a war and then take the women and girls as their wives. Quanah Parker was the last Comanche chief-his mom was kidnapped when she was 9 years old and forced to become a Comanche chief's wife.

I’ve found with Native Americans or American Indians is that many times when they talk of ‘stolen land’ what they imply is ‘you did what I wanted to do.’ There was greed & arrogance on both the Whites & Native American sides. Yes, this nations treatment of American Indians was arrogant & wars were used to take land from American Indians. Truth about greed is that Whites were just better in greed. Before the Whites, American Indians when they wanted land be it living grounds, hunting grounds, burial grounds & fishing waters got it from other tribes by wars. When the Whites came, they wanted the same things & more be they metals such as iron, gold, silver, copper & bronze.

Truth is that when people get advanced & complicated in their technologies, the more they want. People are just potentially greedy. If American Indian tribes (esp. tribes like the Sioux, Comanches, Apaches, Aztecs, etc.) had better weapons & capabilities, they would have been conquering other places in the world & imposing their laws on others. Whites ( I’m not White) had better military capability or capacity, but when it comes to thinking, they’re the same. People are the same everywhere-Whites, Blacks, American Indians, etc. That doesn’t excuse fact this nation’s treatment of American Indians was arrogant but when you have the view of ‘you did what I wanted to do’ then you’re no better than what you say to be against.

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