When Paralysis Takes Hold
I am filled with dread as November comes to a close.
November should have been cause for celebration: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a substantial margin and American Indians brought attention to craven injustices surrounding citizens’ water and land use.
And November honors Indians with National Native American Heritage Month: one attempt to recognize that we have not vanished.
We are still here.
At last count, seven thousand activists are “hunkered down” in the frigid cold of North Dakota, according to the New York Times.
Activists hope to prevent construction of a 1,300-mile pipeline destined to channel crude oil across several states in North America.
And across Indian homelands usurped by the federal government, who then sold off parcels to settlers and investors in the 19th century.
Anyone with cash could buy property—anyone except American Indians, who were forbidden from buying back their lands.
Because Indians were not declared citizens until 1924.
Such injustices and ironies aren’t lost on international mainstream media, such as The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian, which have covered the pipeline news with relish.
But the game-changer in coverage of the pipeline has been social media.
Activists, called Water Protectors, have taken social media by storm, posting comments, statements and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A search for #NODAPL on Google yields more than 3 million hits (#NODAPL is the “No Dakota Access Pipeline” hashtag that collates all internet posts within the same search category).
While I sit in my office, grading papers and dreading the election of a bigoted moron, my relatives are actively confronting the issues that I bemoan from my warm armchair.
I admire their courage, which is all the more wondrous in light of the entropy that has paralyzed the rest of us.
30 November 2016
Photograph of Cannonball Sacred Stone Camp by Terry Wiklund from the High Plains website