Bulldozers, Biting Dogs and Pepper Spray: Brotherly Love, American Style

The fight is endless. Indian Nations have standing treaties with the United States Federal Government, protecting their lands and ancestral grounds and providing assurances for self-governance among other things. They are not subject to state law. Tell that to the states. For more than 100 years, the Indian Nations across America have been forced to fight costly legal battles on a multitude of fronts often against the states their reservations exist on.

Forcing a people to endlessly defend their treaty rights up to Federal Court saps funds that could otherwise be used to build desperately needed infrastructure, improved housing, education and basic human services in some of the poorest places in America. Instead of allowing them to use their resources to better ends, we force battles that put the children’s bread in the hands of lawyers.

The latest front in this ongoing war is the development of a pipeline from the Bakken Oil fields in North Dakota southeast to Illinois. Indian Nations have already successfully fought to keep this pipeline off their lands in Minnesota. Tribes in North and South Dakota are now taking up the fight to protect their treaty rights and precious resources. Impacting this case directly are environmental threats to the Missouri River, the only supply of water feeding the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. The original proposed route of the pipeline would have crossed the Missouri River 10 miles north of Bismark, the capital of the state of North Dakota. It was rejected on the grounds of potential threats to that area’s water supply. The current dig is occurring just one half mile from the Standing Rock Reservation. The hypocrisy is staggering. An oil spill here would devastate this group of people. The current dig also traverses ancestral burial grounds of the Sioux, threatening destruction of an area that has deep spiritual and archaeological significance.

If you take the time to watch the videos below and are put off by the protests, ask yourself what you would do if someone showed up threatening your property or resources with a bulldozer, biting dogs and pepper spray. These protests aim to stop work until the cases have a chance to be heard in Federal Court.

Unfortunately, the battle over the Dakota Pipeline is simply another of the myriad of variations of endlessly and pointlessly convoluted muck indigenous groups must trudge through to protect their rights and interests in America. The lawyers are happy. The children go hungry.

Words and Photography ©2016 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in human rights & noDAPL. Bookmark the permalink.


partial restraining order against North Dakota pipeline issued 9/6/16

because calling in the National Guard is going to calm everyone down…(bitter sarcasm here)

Iowa landowner’s suing to block eminent domain seizure of their properties against the Dakota pipeline

Note: Thanks to Dermott Hayes for drawing my attention to this story. I’ll be updating this on Monday. A decision regarding this case is scheduled for later today (9/9/16) in Federal Court.

59 thoughts on “Bulldozers, Biting Dogs and Pepper Spray: Brotherly Love, American Style

    1. Thank you, Rusty! I will absolutely check out your article. I was going to hold this one until Monday; but then the governor of North Dakota called up the National Guard, and it was announced that the federal judge would hand down a decision by the end of the day. I like your “long walk of doing and undoing.” There is a lot that needs fixing. Blessings, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. The treatment of these tribes all in the name of money is despicable! When will we learn that when we place more value on money vs. people we all lose. Thank you for bringing this topic to our attention Tanya. I look forward to your update on Monday.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Steph! I will admit that I am anxiously awaiting that court decision and praying that it goes in the favor of the Indian Nations. The idea of an oil pipeline 1/2 mile upriver in your ONLY water source is unthinkable. We can, and must, do better on behalf of all of our human brothers and sisters. Blessings!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much for sharing! It is absolutely relevant and, I think, important. Silence and inaction are as bad as propagation when it comes to the ills of the world. I will be heading over to sign myself. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Post! We went downtown to protest with our Oklahoma Tribes. I have been appalled at the treatment of these Native peoples since I first set foot in North and South Dakota. This is an outrage and the media has not been very good at reporting this. Hoping for good news today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Patricia! As with you, I often find the attitudes and treatment toward indigenous groups appalling. Glad to hear that you joined those protests in Oklahoma. Numbers speak. I am standing and applauding!☺💕❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m ashamed as a graduate of North Dakota University and all of my children live in Grand Forks, with family in Rapid City. Everyone is talking about Colin K. not standing for the national anthem and the people we stole from are being silenced again. Not going to back down on this one. I wrote everyone of my representatives in Congress and the Senate! We can do this!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Stole is the right word, too. Stole, butchered, decimated…

        Good for you. I do believe that things can change for the better if enough of us get a fire in our bellies to DO something about it. Every little thing counts. Glad someone is holding their breath with me on that court case for North Dakota. Thanks so much, Patricia! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robert! When you wrap these issues up in legal terminologies they sound convoluted. But the basic issue at hand is just a variation on a theme. Time we start singing a new song, I think! Have a wonderful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your quote at the end of the piece sums it all up for many: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” (Psalm 24:1-2, NIV) Either we believe this, or something like it, or we open the world to the recent corporate hijackings of nature that are leading our entire planet closer and closer to extinction. I note that your first comment is from Canada: and yes, similar things are happening up here, and have been for a long time. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Thank you for breaking silence this Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is global, Roger. Thank you! I think it’s the last video clip that has a leader from one of the Indian Nations talking about how we are just stewards of the land…in my addendum: borrowing, nurturing or destroying at will. These issues concern everyone. Thanks for sharing! It is always appreciated, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was all over our news tonight. Also the response from our own indigenous. In our case they have treaties with the Federal government and are refusing to talk with provinces of multi-nationals. they want high level nation to nation.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Was of the impression that this war had ended a long time ago. This is the 21st century.
    I watched the cowboys chase the Indians off their lands when I was a small boy. How sad that they should still be fighting to claim something that is theirs.
    There are several minorities suffering all over the globe

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We would do better when we focus attention on them.
        Most people are not aware that theses things are still happening all over the place.
        One thing I know is that the Indians hold their burial grounds in very high esteem

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad you posted this, Tanya. Now that Obama halted construction, let’s hope this puts an end to it. Since construction was halted based on environmental issues rather than sacred land rights, let’s pray that environmental impact is detrimental enough to force redirecting the pipeline. Then our work begins to stop the dang thing altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes Worstpress will send comments to spam, i hardly ever check my spam folder….so i myself might miss a ton of comments.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for posting, Tanya. I grew up on the Columbia river in the 1950s before the salmon-fishing people were devastated by dams, so have always had an affinity for native people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I doubt that very much! Seems to me you keep yourself very busy each day! And may the good Lord bless you and your entire family…


        Liked by 1 person

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