DAPL: This Land Is Not Our Land

By Dan Teano
Lifestyle Editor

Maybe we think of discrimination as a historical concept. Perhaps we’ve fallen into a belief that after the Civil Rights movement, every person of every race would be treated fairly and equally. But that could not be further from the truth.
To the Energy Transfer Partnership, the American Indians of the Standing Rock Great Sioux Tribe have been reduced to economic obstacles. Never mind their humanity, their long-standing history, or their sacred lands. Ignore the fact that these indigenous people were here long before European settlement and colonization. Culture and tradition simply does not matter.
What counts, though, is the potential millions of dollars that can be generated from crude oil. Throughout history, the Native Americans have been repeatedly dehumanized, displaced, then destroyed. Why? Because of money, because we value profit over people, because the livelihoods of a distant tribe are worthless to the pipeline’s wealthy investors.
Until we, as Americans, respect the people who were here before us, we will never able to live peacefully with one another. It is time we stop, think, and evaluate our behavior. What underlies this blatant act of discrimination? Why do we fail to treat people with respect and dignity?
I suggest it is because our values are misguided. From a very young age, we’ve been conditioned to strive after the “American Dream.” Get rich, have freedom, and retire early. But nowhere included in that ideal lifestyle are moral values like compassion, or kindness, or an unwavering love for your neighbors that you would die for their rights. Instead, we eagerly chase wherever cash flows. We buy clothes after a new trend surfaces. We work long hours to purchase our dream sports car. We spend, consume, and utilize, in such fast paces that we never realize that we have given nothing back.
It is time we slow down to reflect and meditate on what really matters in life. A good place to start is thinking why we’re here in the first place. An age-old Native American adage says “we did not inherit this land from our ancestors, we’ve borrowed it from our children.” This earth is not ours. We are not fracking, drilling, and constructing pipelines on DAPL property, nor are we are obliterating the Sioux Indians’ homes. No. The land we are exterminating and defiling with reckless abandonment is our children’s. This planet we continually degrade belongs to them. The water supply we take no issue in polluting is there’s to drink. The land we’re bulldozing is there’s to inhabit.
With the attention stirring around the Dakota Access Pipeline, we can finally revisit and redress our priorities. What really matters is what we leave for the next generation. Unlike material possessions, morals are far-reaching and eternally impactful. When we uphold true values like peace and compassion, then we can say we have accomplished something meaningful. Not for our sake. But because the land we live on belongs to our children.

One thought on “DAPL: This Land Is Not Our Land

  1. I agree with your message, but suggest that you do some editing.
    Instead of “there’s” in the next to the last paragraph, I believe you mean “theirs.”
    I raise this only because some confuse, and seize, a grammatical error as a failure in a substantive argument.
    Be well and take care.

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