The recent breakouts of violence in North Dakota regarding the oil pipeline and its culture-threatening placement has turned a once peaceful protest into a more extreme movement.
Advocacy groups, social justice fighters and people who just want to see change have posted videos and pictures on social media showing the violence committed to the Native Americans at Standing Rock. There are videos showing riots, rubber bullets and tear gas being shot at groups of people. There are pictures of natives with bruises and welts, and videos of people in shock from the attacks.
These videos seem to leave out what might have brought the violence on. It is understandable for a movement to become violent when oil companies threaten people’s’ homes, when their culture and ancestry and even their water supply is threatened, but the people have started a civil disobedience movement. When something of that nature starts, awareness spreads. People hear about how honorable and dedicated the protesters are and it stirs something in their hearts.
“Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals,” Martin Luther King Jr said during a speech on Feb. 6, 1964 in front of The New School in New York. To the oil companies, the protesting becomes an inconvenience. With hundreds of people protesting, the law cannot arrest them all.
When a movement like this becomes violent and when protesters start to bring guns and appear threatening to the men and women of the law, things escalate. As tension grows, officials grow more nervous, everyone feels the tension and violence breaks out.
An article called Native American Pipeline Protest Halts Construction in N. Dekota in Inside the Climate News written by Phil McKenna said, “A group of protesters on horseback staged a mock charge toward a line of law enforcement officials guarding the site, and the county sheriff alleged that others have fired guns and set off pipe bombs.”
The courts will stand behind the police officials who will say they were defending themselves, and the entire movement will fall apart because peace was not achieved.
Awareness continues to be an issue for the movement. From a distance, people only have videos and articles to rely on for the truth, but what if the people who are interviewed share two different stories?
From the article above, Mckenna also wrote, “Protesters denied those allegations. ‘Firearms and weapons are not allowed at the Sacred Stone Camp and our security has done an exemplary job at maintaining safety amongst the crowd.’”
People who want to know the truth and people who want to see change in the world should go to the events regarding the protest. Some KSC students attended different rallies and marches and came back saying that before they went to the events, they did not know anything about the issue.
People cannot rely on social media for their news. For so many social and political issues, the only knowledge people have is from videos their friends posted that come from biased or bought out propaganda sights. Even some news sources are too biased to trust.
College students might have a hard time going to some of the rallies that require extensive travel, but KSC had a speaker Fidel Moreno come on Nov. 2 to talk about what is happening in North Dakota. Students who attended said that they were affected greatly by Moreno and still, others decided they wanted to do more.
A video Moreno showed pointed out that as the days get shorter and colder, firewood will become a dwindling necessity.
Some students will be using their thanksgiving break to show support and drive firewood to the protesters at Standing Rock. It’s amazing that students were affected so much that they actually want to make that drive during the holidays. If students want to help, stop spreading Facebook propaganda and help out the people who work to make a difference.
Sebastien Mehegan can be contacted at Smehegan@kscequinox.com