“Do You Hear the People Sing?”: What the Temporary Victory and Battle Ahead Mean for the Standing Rock Sioux

News out of Standing Rock this week brought hope to residents and protesters.

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All those who have been watching the ongoing protests in South Dakota rejoiced Sunday when “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would seek alternative routes for the pipeline. The ‘water protectors’ and their supporters sang, drummed and cheered in triumph.”

After a year that had been filled with defeat for many, an ever-looming sense of hopelessness in our government, and a lack of justice and disappointment in our fellow Americans, Sunday’s victory served to refuel all those involved in the protest with hope. After months of being ignored by the media and politicians, this victory speaks to the idea that hard work and perseverance by like-minded individuals can fight systems of hatred and injustice.

However, many are describing Sunday’s events with the following statement: “We’ve won the battle, but not the war.” One reason is that President-Elect Trump has expressed support for the pipeline, although it is not yet clear whether he’ll follow through and retaliate against the decision made by the current administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Second, construction of the pipeline has already been completed, and many fear that drilling will begin in a different location.

Perhaps most importantly, although the protests worked (for now anyway), this small victory does not take away from the discrimination and bigotry faced everyday by groups like the Standing Rock Sioux. If anything, this protest, through the harrowing images of water cannons and military forces being used against the Standing Rock Sioux and those who stood in solidarity with them, brought to light the marginalization of Native Americans, and reminds us that the crimes of our forefathers that are too often glossed over in history books still continue today.

But we have hope. Hope because we are more aware, hope that six or nine months ago, a victory like this would not have been possible and ironically, may have been aided because there are so many in today’s political climate who are willing to fight against injustice in protest of the election. So yes, we need to remain in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and all those who are living in fear. Let this be the reminder we need right now of what we can do, together.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog

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