The Native American Student Association hosted the Stand with Standing Rock panel Monday to educate and raise awareness about the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The construction of the pipeline has caused controversy leading to a dispute between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has reminded some Native Americans of past transgressions against their sovereignty. This country has a history of erasing the culture of Native Americans and assimilating them, said Farina King, Southern Methodist University research fellow. King spoke on the panel about how past organizations motivated for resources removed Native Americans to seize their territory.
“We want to keep our tie to that land, we want to keep who we are and who our children are,” King said. “It’s key that it’s connected to the land.”
Students don’t have to travel across the nation to show solidarity for the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. People can show their support by giving equipment for camping and perishable foods to the protesters in North Dakota, broadcast communication senior Harold Rogers said.
“Don’t feel shame for not being there,” Rogers said.
Stephanie Vielle, political science senior and speaker on the panel, said her experience at Sacred Stone Camp helped her see the struggles protesters in North Dakota go through to protect the water.
“Students have a lot of power — you can organize [against it],” said Eric Reed, Dallas attorney and panelist.
Reed said this pipeline only benefits the Energy Transfer Partners company and does not serve the public. Despite resistance from citizens and political figures, corporations can find loopholes and alternative ways to construct the pipeline.
The panelists discussed their heritage and the history of treatment of the Native American people. Audience members asked questions about ways students can work to solve the issues and the effectiveness of politicians who are against the pipeline.
Dallas resident Danielle Whaley said she learned new information about the Dakota Access Pipeline and how companies can look for alternative forms of harvesting resources.