The protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline needs to succeed in order to set a precedent that people matter more than corporations.

Right now in North Dakota the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s essential water supply and sacred burial grounds are being threatened by DAPL, an 1,172-mile long pipeline that, if constructed, would take crude oil from North Dakota down to Illinois.

Standing Rock Sioux are not the only ones who care though. People of many different Native American tribes, as well as people of all backgrounds, have come together to protest and hopefully halt the construction of DAPL.

Perhaps what is bringing people to the protest more than anything is the pepper spray, rubber bullets, high-pitched sirens and attack dogs used to brutalize the peaceful protestors, or “water protectors” as they prefer to be called. Police are on the side of corporations and oil, while protesters are on the side of the people and water.

Protesters are speaking up, not only for themselves, but for human beings across this country. The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States so if it becomes polluted it will affect a lot more than just the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

This protest is about the fracking plants and oil pipelines that are popping up everywhere in the country and hurting communities by potentially contaminating their drinking water, polluting the air, or causing an increased amount of earthquakes. I believe that if this protest does not succeed there will be no stopping them in time.

What the police should be doing is making sure that protestors are not hurt by private security. Instead they are a tool used to bulldoze the pipeline down the throats of the American people who clearly do not want it. If there are literally hundreds of Native Americans standing in the way of your construction, then it is clearly not permitted by them and thus should be halted until proper permission is given.

The land that DAPL is going through is outside of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation but is still owned by the Sioux and used for hunting, called “Unceded Indian Territory” in the language of the treaty. “Almost the entire length of the pipeline…according to the 1851 treaty is on their land,” Peter Capossela, an attorney specializing in Native American law, said.  

Instead we have a disturbing situation where the wealthy and their militant police soldiers will do anything to keep profits high, and if you think it will stop in North Dakota you are being naive. As Nestle continues to shove their water bottling plant onto Cascade Locks, Oregon, you realize that we as Oregonians have to fight similar battles for our environment to remain healthy and respected.