Respect the land or do not touch it

Illustration by Dominic Davies

The Keystone Pipeline leak is not receiving nearly enough media coverage. The construction of the pipeline was extremely controversial for years leading up to and even during the construction of the pipeline.

Environmentalists and local tribes protested the pipeline with sit-ins and posters in attempts to stop construction. This is another example that, time and time again, indigenous people are simply brushed off.

The Keystone Pipeline is an oil pipeline system that runs through Canada and the United States. The location of one segment of the pipeline has been the center of much controversy, because it was constructed on the “protected lands of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe,” according to the Native American Rights Fund (NARF).

Despite consistent protests, the corporation still opted to build on sacred land.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe even took action by suing the Trump administration for permitting the construction of the pipeline, as mentioned in the NARF article. There were treaties made in the past that were brought into existence for the sole purpose of protecting the land from trespassing and destruction of resources.

NARF stated, “Today, the presidents of Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community were in federal court to invoke their sacred inheritance from these treaties.”

It is worth mentioning that President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the existence of climate change and has proven to reject the idea of tending to a gradually deteriorating environment.

Additionally, the Trump administration took action to permit the construction of the pipeline Jan. 24, 2017. The only promise made to The Rosebud Sioux Tribe was that the land would be protected and tended to in any case of accidental oil leaks.

As of Oct. 29, the major promise made to the people was broken. According to The New York Times, “The Keystone Pipeline system, an addition to which has been the subject of environmental protests for years, leaked about 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota.”

Based on the evidence, corporations are allowed to manipulate land they do not own and break the fundamental promise that allowed them to build the pipeline in the first place. The leak brought on few repercussions for the company, because Trump signed on the deal, and any government involvement would simply further the damage done.

The amount of oil makes the leakage nearly irreversible. The worst part of it all is that this isn’t the first time the pipeline has leaked since its construction.

Corporations need to be held responsible for the promises they break and the ecosystems they slaughter. This all could’ve been avoided had they not built the pipeline in the first place.

In light of the disaster, it is believed the effects on nearby wildlife and water sources will be fairly minimal. Luckily, the area is not the main water source for native wildlife in the region.

However, the region that was impacted will still be heavily monitored for any major environmental issues. Nonetheless, sacred indigenous land is suffering the consequences for the actions of businessmen, who profit from the pipeline.

If the tribes were listened to, there wouldn’t be any major worry of ecosystem collapse, and the people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe would have maintained the land they own and have owned for many years.