Four thousand Native Americans from approximately 90 different tribes have come together in a way never seen before to protest the incursion of almost $4 billon dollar Dakota Access Pipeline that will cut through their territory land, sacred burial sites, disrupt farming practices, and possibly ruin their clean water source. The government and mainstream media due to America’s national security is ignoring the largest gathering of protesting Indians in decades. National security is defined as the protection of national interest, or in other words, American values such as democracy, economic growth and, above all, protection from harm. Ironically, there are times America takes actions in the name of national security for the protection of national values that directly trample on said national values. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a great example of this.
The pipeline will lessen United States dependence on foreign oil and therefore protect the United States from outside harm and influence. However, by creating the pipeline the government is breaking several Native American agreements including the Self-Determination and Education Act, which recognizes Indian country as sovereign land. Due to this act, any and all encroachment in Indian country must be consulted and agreed upon by Indian inhabitants. The Sioux Tribe claim little communication went on with the Army Corps of Engineers that granted construction of the pipeline. Further more, “the Tribe has voiced its strong opposition to the company, to the federal government, to Congress, and to the State” which was all ignored. As the government builds closer to energy independence, the government falls further away from its values. The government is burying Indians’ rights to be heard, territorial integrity and justice before the law with every oil cylinder put into the ground.
American values are what define us as a country. Our values are our pride and joy, what we believe makes America so great. We are “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We believe in equality, justice, protection of the minority and a government not above the law. These are the values the United States goes to war to protect. Yet throughout history, in our own country, we are directly contradicting these values due to national security in cases such as Indian lands and the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline shines a light on an ever-growing list of how our actions, in the name of national security, contradict our values. The question is, “is it worth it?” Is our national security worth throwing our values to the wind? This isn’t a question one blogger or any one person can answer. This is a question that we as America have to answer together. With the rising terrorist attacks, in the last few months, in Germany, France, Turkey and other countries it is a question we may have to answer soon. Are we willing to loose ourselves to protect our selves?