Daily Engagement is a new, brief, daily feature on Flavorwire. It’s aimed at helping people feel somewhat less helpless and hopeless (or at least in control of their helplessness and hopelessness) in the midst of a political news cycle that’s been doling out daily affronts to human decency.
Every day, we’ll post one easy thing that people can do to continue to resist the current state of politics under the Trump administration, focusing on the creative ways (we are a culture website after all) that citizens are finding to resist. Today: the ongoing battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
What’s the issue?
This week, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have taken their protest to Washington — after having first fought through the harshest of winter conditions against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Obama administration. They won that battle when Jo-Ellen Darcy, former assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, halted work on the Dakota Access pipeline’s crossing under the Lake Oahe reservoir on the Missouri River. But the war was reignited once Donald Trump took over the presidency; he released an executive order nearly immediately that called for construction to begin again. The proposed construction was unchanged, meaning that the pipeline continued to pose a threat to sacred ground and to reservations’ water supplies. Like the ongoing Flint disaster, it’s another display of the government’s flagrant, impotable disregard for communities of color. Construction under the lake began on February 8, and according to NPR, oil could begin flowing through the pipeline by Monday.
Yesterday and Wednesday, Native leaders lobbied throughout Washington, and today, they and their allies marched from the Mall to the White House. The day will culminate in a rally where they’ll make their demands, which include: Trump meeting with tribal leaders; agreement that corporations and the government get consent from tribes for actions like the construction of DAPL; and, per the Stand with Standing Rock website, “respect [for] Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands.”
Standing Rock member JoBeth Brownotter, one of the thousands of people in attendance at the Native Nations Rise March in Washington, told Al Jazeera, “We came here to stand up for our people, for water, for our rights, for future generations.”
What can you do?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely not finishing up a March in Washington, but you can still support the cause from afar. You could start with donations to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who’re emphasizing that the seeming loss of the DAPL battle gives all the more reason to stress the importance of the fight for indigenous rights. Another way of helping is simply not letting this fight go silent: social media activism is highly limited, but its ability to amplify the more impactful activism is real, and the #NoDAPL fight threatens to be lost in the tide of innumberable other outrages perpetrated by Trump et al. Following the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Twitter and retweeting their messages is thus a form of social media activism that’s both effective and worthwhile.
The purpose of today’s march wasn’t just to oppose DAPL, but also to increase the visibility of indigenous issues and pave the way for fighting systemic injustice in the future. Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II spoke in D.C. today, saying, “You stood with us at Standing Rock, and now I ask you to stand with our indigenous community around the world. And together we can rise.” For continued action updates, text “nativemarch” to 41411.
The construction of DAPL was restarted through an executive order, so while Congress Members cannot vote to avert it, continuing to amplify disapproval will, if nothing else, hopefully lead Congress to be less dismissive of indigenous causes in the future. Lakota Law (a nonprofit firm) has a page through which you can email your representatives on the issue. There’s also a petition directly for Trump, which is in very small and easy-to-understand words, so maybe he’ll read it.