By Maddy Longwell
On Thursday, September 15, Boston will play its part in the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) debate that is dominating the country.
Since the project which would run an oil pipeline through four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois was okayed in late July, opponents to the pipeline have been speaking up.
Besides the environmental threats the pipeline could potentially pose—like an accidental oil leak into the Missouri River, a major water source for many Americans—one of the most notable opponents has been the Standing Rock Reservation.
The Standing Rock Reservation straddles North and South Dakota and is home to more than 8,500 members of the Lakota and Dakota Native American tribes. Since July, Standing Rock has been battling the project in federal court. The Standing Rock government claims that besides the potential environmental threats, the pipeline will run through and harm sacred land and burial grounds on the reservation.
Although court proceedings have been in progress since July, the controversy started to gain attention in late August. People at the Standing Rock reservation and around the country have begun a series of protests, often called Stand with Standing Rock. The protests have spanned the East and West Coasts and have reached major cities and small towns alike.
This past week, a federal order stopped construction on the pipeline near Standing Rock Reservation until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can “revisit its previous decisions in the disputed portion.”
Although the protesters have been gaining attention, many supporters of the pipeline still remain. Supporters point to the benefits that can come from domestic oil production—which the pipeline enables—such as job creation.
Many protesters feel, however, that the issue extends far deeper than the pipeline itself. Historically, the U.S. government has repeatedly broken up and relocated Native Americans in order to use the land and resources they previously occupied. For many, the pipeline seems to be an extension of this same practice.
As the Stand with Standing Rock movement gains traction around the country, Boston will join in. Boston Stands with Standing Rock is a benefit event at the Elks Lodge in Cambridge to raise awareness about the issue. Proceeds donated will go to one of a few organizations that to support the movement on Standing Rock reservation. The event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. More information can be found on the Boston Stands With Standing Rock Facebook page.