Donald Trump just confirmed that he is ramming through approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline.1 This is an unprecedented move by a sitting President.2 The approval and construction of this pipeline will wipe out the Sioux’s “most important cultural and spiritual areas.” The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline will contaminate the reservation’s water and will constitute yet another attack on their sovereignty and way of life.3
This is just the first of many actions Trump and the GOP plan to take to use infrastructure projects to destroy the lives of people of color. Today he’ll ram this pipeline through the Sioux community, tomorrow he will push through a lung-choking oil refinery in a Black neighborhood.
But this fight is far from over. The bureaucrats of the Army Corp of Engineers – the agency overseeing the pipeline construction – still have a lot of power to delay and block this project. We need to call on staff within Army Corp of Engineers to oppose Trump by throwing sand in the gears of this destructive project. With their help we can stall this out.
As long as corporations partner with Trump and the GOP to threaten the land, the water, and the planet, there will be water protectors and land defenders ready to put their bodies on the line. But we need people of conscious on the inside of the government to take action too.
Trump’s power depends on the consent of the people and it’s institutions in order to function. Trump already knows he doesn’t have the consent of the people, it’s time to show him that he doesn’t have the consent of our institutions either. Weakening Trump’s hold on institutions like the Army Corp of Engineers is the key to undermining his unjust control.
For decades, corporations have placed environmentally hazardous facilities in Black and indigenous communities – leaving our communities to bear unjust levels pollution-related illnesses like asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.4
And the protests at Standing Rock ring disturbingly familiar for residents of primarily Black communities like Flint, Michigan where the emergency manager poisoned the water supply to cut costs.5 It is sickening that poor Black and indigenous people must fight for the same rights to clean air and water that white communities are eagerly granted.
These attacks on the Sioux reservation do not stand alone. Over the years, the reservation has shrunk significantly due to government intervention and corporate theft. And time and time again, the reservation has been attacked with state-sponsored massacres, where Sioux natives were mercilessly killed by members of the United States Army. These attacks on Standing Rock are not just attacks on their drinking water, but attacks on their sovereignty and way of life.
We cannot let Trump and his self-serving corporate pals erase the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and poison our air and water.
Until justice is real,
— Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Jade, Anika, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team.
1. “Standing Rock Braces for Trump Order Approving DAPL — Could Come Today,” Anti Media, January 23, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7292?t=7&akid=6730.1174326.-mmmji
2. “Here’s a new way to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Grist, January 13, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7293?t=9&akid=6730.1174326.-mmmji
3. “Why the Founder of Standing Rock Sioux Camp Can’t Forget the Whitestone Massacre.” Yes Magazine, 3 September 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7023?t=11&akid=6730.1174326.-mmmji
4. “7 Toxic Assaults on Communities of Color Besides Flint: The Dirty Racial Politics of Pollution.” Alternet, 23 January 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7028?t=13&akid=6730.1174326.-mmmji
5. “On the Dakota Access Pipeline, Alabama and environmental injustice.” Blavity, 31 October 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7029?t=15&akid=6730.1174326.-mmmji