The months-long struggle to stop the Dakota Pipeline near the territory of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has raised passions among Native American activists and environmentalists who have clashed with police trying to sweep the protesters aside.The most critical reason of all for the militant protests is the relatively high probability for a pipeline burst under or near the Missouri river adjacent to their reservation. If you think this possibility is remote, see this, this, this, and this.
To explain the intensity of the resistance, I interviewed Bill Means, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and chairman of the International Indian Treaty Council, which has supported the North Dakota pipeline protests.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up