Summary: President Trump recently signed executive orders to advance the approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. These are pipelines that President Obama stalled and eventually denied the construction of, and that Native American Tribes and supporters from around the world have been protesting since before the pipeline even got its initial permit. The route for Dakota Access risks infringing on treaty rights and contaminating the water source of not only surrounding tribes, but also 17 million other Americans who get water from the Missouri River. West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin, has said that the construction will bring much needed jobs, however an influx of men moving into "man camps" that surround reservations put women living on reservations at risk. These man camps have caused an increase of crime, drugs, and sex trafficking into the communities. In Fort Berthold, North Dakota, there has been 168% increase in violent assaults against women and today 1 in 3 Native women will experience sexual assault. Reservation law enforcement is often left unable to help victims because in 86% of sexual assault cases on reservations, the assailant is non-Indian. This is due to a 1978 Supreme Court ruling that stripped tribal police of the right to arrest non-Natives who commit crimes on reservations, allowing criminals to get away with almost anything on Indian land. The pipeline threatens sacred cites and violates federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation act and the tribes are continuing to fight to halt its construction.
Connection: This connects to the brutal mistreatment of Native Americans that has been continuous since the very first Europeans set foot on this land and treaties between Natives and the American government, every single one of which has been broken by the US.
Questions: Do you think it was fair for the construction to begin without the consent of the surrounding tribes, who will be the vast majority of those affected by the horrible ramifications of the pipeline?
Should the ruling that reservation law enforcement cannot arrest non-Natives who commit crimes on their land be overturned?
Do you think that ruling raises the risks that Native women face?