Native Americans' battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is part of a much bigger war
If you followed the news over Labor Day weekend, you probably caught Democracy Now's gut-wrenching video report on the protests going on near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
A group of Native American demonstrators and their allies were trying to block construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline there Saturday, only to be met with the kinds of violence we're used to seeing in footage from the Jim Crow era: guards armed with pepper spray canisters shoving and kicking dissidents, German Shepherd dogs raring at the ends of their leashes, gnawing on people's arms and faces.
Conflict like this is a rare sight for most Americans. The lives of indigenous people — especially those living in the rural heartland and American Southwest — tend to transpire far from the purview of big city media. But things have been different lately. Thousands of people, including Native Americans and First Nations from more than 90 tribes across the U.S. and Canada, have gathered to halt construction on the 1,172-mile proposed pipeline over the last few weeks — and the national media has started to take notice.