The Native American drive for self-governance is most important civil rights struggle of the 21st century. At the core of this struggle is the integrity of treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate and signed by the President of the United States. The standoff at Standing Rock is only the most recent event documenting the history of treaty violations by the United States government. There will be more such events in the future.
The confrontation between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the pipeline company, its financial investors, and partners is a test of our nation's character. It will also be remembered as a signature event in the closing months of the Obama administration. The response of the next administration will also define the quality of its character. We are all in this together.
We must thank the good journalists at Democracy Now for posting their interview with Wayne Wilansky. He is the father of 21 year old Sophia Wilansky. She was gravely injured by a grenade while at the Standing Rock site. Rather than assisting her, police and para-military units blocked her access to a hospital. Credit for saving her life goes to local medics. Please watch and share the powerful witness of Wayne Wilansky as he speaks about his daughter.
Ward Churchill (Creek/Cherokee Metis) contends that "The native struggles in North America today can only be properly understood as a pursuit of recovery of land rights which are guaranteed through treaties" (Struggle for the Land, Common Courage Press, 4).