This debate-style article explains the #NoDAPL protests in late 2016 and who the DAPL security might have committed a grave error which might technically be considered a human rights violation.
In 1877, the Sioux Confederacy and the U.S government made a treaty in which the Great Sioux Nation became a federally recognized Indian reservation occupying the states of Wyoming, Nebraska, North and South Dakota. In February of 1890, gold was discovered in parts of the nation, thus leading to a Gold Rush, as well as the violation of the 13 year old treaty. Breaking treaties is a thing of the past, right? Well, not really. 2016 is the new 1890 for the Oceti Sakowin, otherwise known as the Sioux people: the pipeline built within the territory of the Standing Rock Reservation, is technically illegal, considering that the aboriginals of these lands have autonomous governments who make decisions regarding the use of the land as well as state reforms and laws. It is not a breaking of a treaty if the tribal council does not veto against it. But they did: the indigenous Lakota people clearly were against the making of the pipeline, thus making their installation and occupation illegal.
Illegal does not necessarily mean “human rights violation”. But it does if violence is used in the defense of something that is illicit and should be punished by law in the first instance. How were their actions violent? To what extent do we classify the security defense as an organization that committed a human rights violation? My answer to those questions: The use of grenades, rubber bullets and other deadly explosives, should never be used even in instances of riots or uprising in which the police force or militia is not physically harmed, which they were not. The only armed individuals were the DAPL security, the “water protectors” as the demonstrators referred to themselves as used prayer and perhaps oral confrontation in which they stood their ground. If it doesn’t sound bad enough, (like I previously stated) defending an illegal occupation, makes it even worse, upgrading the status of the defenses actions as HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
President Barack Obama allowed the construction of the pipeline, and quickly assumed that allowing such was an immense error, and gave Standing Rock Reservation the victory. The courts who attempted to arrest individuals who protested, obviously had no choice but to drop the case. Of course this all changed when President Trump allowed both the re-launching of the pipeline, and the pressing of charges against the protesters, but of course, rendering vice-versa, nearly impossible. This, in my opinion, shows the treatment of American Indians and Alaska Natives today. It is as if the nations are expected to provide their own people with everything the government should provide them with in situations in which that poses a threat to the reservations, and oppression and less justice in situation when the government wants authority over the Native Nations. Reservations in America should have either TOTAL autonomy or the same status as other counties or states, not this complicated “in between” situation which allows and promotes poverty, corruption, injustice and human rights violation to prevail on a massive scale.