Our Water : The Stakes Are High

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Rezpect our Water: The Stakes are High. On November 15, 2016, the chant “water is life” rang out across the United States of America as protestors in more than 300 cities mobilised in support of a rallying cry from Standing Rock, North Dakota, where over 3,000 people have congregated to oppose construction of a multi-state oil pipeline across the Missouri River and disputed ancestral treaty lands (Javier, 2016; Gelder, 2016). Recent reports of violence against protestors has grabbed international attention for this “year-long battle” (Heim, 2016) and bolstered favourable public opinion for the Sioux Tribe of Standing Rock, demanding a more remedial response to treaty claims, and the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption, which has ramifications for governments around the world. Camped long-term on US Army Corp land near the Dakota access pipeline (DAPL) route, protestors claim to be taking back the land consigned to Sioux by treaty in 1851 (Heim,2016; Perez, 2016). The nation has a long history of displacement that it is sharing with the outside world using “social movement strategies” (Gelder, 2016), making it more difficult for government officials to move protestors on while ignoring maltreatments of the past (Simon, 2016; Perez, 2016). Driven by concerns of inequality, marginalisation, environmental degradation, and justice; this assertion of sovereignty is powerfully supported by the “largest gathering of Native Americans in over 100 years” (“Life”, 2016) and environmental activists who see the political mobilization of indigenous people as a step towards sustainable use of the planets resources (Bodley, 2008; Heim, 2016). Characterised by images of police brutality, news reports detailing the use of militar... ... middle of paper ... ...re deeply and widely felt, citizens of the earth can be expected to shun the use of fossil fuels in ever increasing numbers while looking favourably upon land claims made by indigenous people who have been labelled the “true custodians of biodiversity” (United Nations, 2014) and are “key actors” for the worlds “development agenda” (ISAG, 2014). In spite of Standing Rocks DAPL outcome, the Sioux tribe have once again shown themselves to be a formadible opponent, this time on the international stage. In their battle for the preservation of land and livelihoods the Native Americans have they are gaining a level of dominion which demands respectful consultation “soverign to soverign” (Obama, 2016), demonstrating how the “circle of influence” (Mathews, 1997) placed around indigenous people by global media can build power and esteem in the world of international relations.

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