Standing Rock Sioux Defend Right to Clean Water, Part 1

| 11/30/2016 2:13:00 PM

Tags: human rights, direct action, Native Americans, pipeline, fossil fuels, Bruce McElmurray, North Dakota, Colorado,

Earth’s Water

Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water but only 2.5 percent of that water is potable or usable for human survival. Of that 2.5 percent only 1 percent is accessible. In addition, there are five basic survival needs for human beings. Those needs are 1. Oxygen 2. Water 3. Food 4. Shelter 5. Sleep. All five are required for survival. Remove any one of the basic five needs, and we cease to survive.

Limited media coverage has been afforded to the protest of Standing Rock Sioux, but many who use social media have at least heard the term used. This protest, in essence, is to protect the drinking water of millions of people from potential future contamination by the Dakota Access Pipeline that is crossing the Missouri River in North Dakota.

Water as a Human Right

The pipeline, if it starts leaking or discharging raw crude, will directly impact the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and all those who rely on that water below the pipeline crossing. The Sioux, and protesters from all walks of life as well as members of other tribes, have joined together to protest this pipeline. In 2010, the United Nations, through resolution 64/292, explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean water and sanitation are essential rights for all human beings.

This post is part of a three-part series regarding the protest at Standing Rock over that right. I am going to collaborate with my long-time and close friend Sakoieta Widrick of the Mohawk tribe because, although this can be understood in many cultures, it is only from the Native American perspective that it can be realistically told. Sakoieta teaches at Brock University in Canada, and I have come to value his wisdom and insight over the years that we have been friends. I can think of no one better to collaborate with that would be objective and still informative on such a controversial topic. Following are the comments from Sakoieta in italics.

Native American Perspective

It is taught to us from childhood as Indigenous people that each day we rise we give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength and cleansing. Water is life. We know its power in many forms‐beautiful waterfalls and precious rain, mists and bubbling streams, flowing rivers and huge powerful oceans. With one mind, we join our thoughts with the people of the world and we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water. Now our minds are one.

12/2/2016 4:14:22 PM

Wonderfully written by both Bruce and Sakoieta. Unfortunately, man's greed has and will continue to destroy the resources we need to survive.

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