The militarized response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters appears shocking if not extremist to say the least. Native American tribes, and many others protesting the pipeline, whatever their motivations, have not done anything to legally justify this kind of response. The purpose of police is to ‘Serve and Protect’ not become the goon of the government or a corporation.
There are many reasons why people are protesting the pipeline, but the main issue is that it violates Native American land rights. The legitimacy of their concerns is followed by the fact that the pipeline was moved from a another route because it could pollute the land/water supply:
“Early in the planning process, Dakota Access considered but eliminated an alternative that would have crossed the Missouri River about 10 miles north of Bismarck instead of the route currently under construction.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the Bismarck route and concluded it was not a viable option for many reasons. One reason mentioned in the agency’s environmental assessment is the proximity to wellhead source water protection areas that are avoided to protect municipal water supply wells.”-Bismarck Tribune
The fact is that the environmental rights of individuals who would be affected with the original route were respected and given priority. But when it comes to Native American lands the issue is moot. Why?
America has a long history of making treaties with the Native Americans, but then when it serves a personal, political, or financial gain, to just as quickly break their promises and agreements—with a violent and deadly response. When will we learn from history and respect the rights of Native Americans who themselves have no personal profit from the pipeline, but instead are only looking out for the land that we all live on that they rightfully desire to protect?