Letter: Dakota pipeline more than environmental issue | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Dakota pipeline more than environmental issue

It is quite unfortunate that there are people in this country who think it is OK to treat people with such disrespect. Generations of natives have been on this land long before we settled and decided to move in on their territory. We are just going to keep destroying the environment until we have nothing left.

Since when did people agree that having oil is more important than having clean drinking water? Standing Rock is sacred land that has been preserved and fought for. Over the past hundreds of years, natives have died due to the greed of white expansion and white wealth. The Dakota Access Pipeline is just a small part of what natives have had to go through; they have been protecting their rights and land for years. Every native at Standing Rock and every native on this continent have survived the genocide of 100 million of their people.

I have noticed that when people are talking about the pipeline they are focused mainly on the environmental side of things, which is good, but the point that their land is violently being taken away from them is not being discussed as much as it should be. Native water protectors and water warriors deserve the long-awaited peace and acknowledgment from us as a nation. This recognition of the Dakota Access Pipeline needing to be stopped is a moment of truth for the Great Sioux Nation; they are struggling to fight the violence of colonization and have been for years. The construction of this pipeline is primarily driven by greed, and the people who have agreed to build it are only focusing on the financial benefits instead of the lives of natives and how they will be affected.

The struggles of natives have merely been swept under the rug for years, and we have a chance for these struggles to come to light and help them become recognized. The struggles of the natives are different than the issues with anti-black violence and should not be directly compared. Anti-black violence is performed for social and economic control, and the violence toward natives has always been about one goal: complete and total erasure. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a much bigger issue than people foresee it as; it's not just about climate change and it's not just about drinking water. It is about the preservation of native culture, liberation and survival.

Sage Lucero

Aspen