Native American activists are disappointed with the new chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Senator John Hoeven, a Republican representing North Dakota, is the new chair. Democrat Tom Udall, from New Mexico, is the committee’s vice chair. Both men fail to see eye-to-eye on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Udall was in favor of halting pipeline construction. Now that Hoeven is in charge of the committee, President Trump’s actions for renewing construction will meet little opposition.
As noted in the Huffington Post, not all members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe are in favor of halting the pipeline’s construction. However, the Native American civil rights movement has been in decline since the 1970s, making this recent activism an important element of the movement’s resurgence. The international spotlight was on the pipeline protesters throughout the summer. The Standing Rock Sioux received public support from celebrities and donations from average people across the United States as well as abroad.
Continuing pipeline construction not only threatens the drinking water of the Sioux and those living in the area, but it has the potential to bury a powerful movement that isn’t about the environment alone. Native culture has been misinterpreted, misconstrued and misrepresented for hundreds of years. This Native-led movement bought attention to the plight of Native American communities as told by Native communities. Inevitably, construction will resume. It is highly unlikely Hoeven will bring solutions to the plight of of those in Indian Country, making the role of activists even more important.
Categories: Native American, Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Sioux Standing Rock Reservation