United States: As Dakota pipeline fight escalates, Greens show support but Democrats go missing

September 12, 2016
Jill Stein (second from right) protesting at Dakota Access Pipeline site. September 6.

As one presidential candidate faces charges for spray-painting construction equipment at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest on September 6, many are calling for President Barack Obama and White House Democrat presidential candidate Hilary Clinton to oppose the controversial project.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein would be charged for taking part in an action in which 150 to 200 people protested at a DAPL worksite in North Dakota.

The pipeline is opposed by the Native American traditional owners of the land it crosses, as well as environmentalists, for the damage it will do — both in its construction and the through burning of the large amounts of oil it will ship.

But whereas Stein has been clear in her opposition to DAPL, as has former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Obama and Clinton have been absent — even as Indigenous people from across the US and activists face increasingly severe crackdowns.

Journalist and Oglala Lakota Nation citizen Simon Moya-Smith called on Clinton to weigh in, writing: “Back in February, the Clinton camp posted to its website the candidate’s policy platform for Native Americans. In it, Clinton declares that she ‘will continue to stand for Tribal sovereignty and in support of Tribal resources and sacred sites’…

“But if she truly supports Native American sovereignty, and if she is sincere about honouring the treaties and protecting sacred sites, then she will take a stand against this ominous pipeline as well as the brazen violation of our treaty rights.”

As for Obama, Moya-Smith wrote: “Two years ago, the President and first lady Michelle Obama visited the very same reservation being threatened by the pipeline today. They laughed and played with the children there at Standing Rock … Will the Obamas now be silent at a time when those same children they so affectionately embraced need them most?”

An investigation has revealed that of the more than two dozen major banks and financial institutions that are bankrolling the DAPL project, many are Clinton and Obama donors.

[Abridged from Common Dreams.]

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