By Miranda Holguin
Cal Poly Pomona students are showing their support for protesters by “checking in” at Standing Rock, North Dakota on Facebook.
According to the Washington Post, “checking in” might have begun as a tactic to elude police from targeting protesters at the actual site, but neither police nor the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have confirmed this.
One thing for sure is that “checking in” became a call to action in regards to the ongoing fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I think that being active is a message of solidarity to other people” said fourth-year environmental civil engineering student Alexia Mackey, who also “checked in” on Facebook. “I think that not just college students but every person should get involved. If you feel like you have the resources to act then do it. We all need to stick together.”
According to Energy Transfer (the company conducting the project), the pipeline will transport approximately 470,000 barrels per day of crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.
As construction nears the Mississippi river and sacred lands on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the Sioux Tribe’s concerns grow.
“Many Native people are opposed to the pipeline because they want to protect the water supply and want to prevent the destruction of cultural resources,” said Sandy Dixon, associate professor from the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department. “We are trying to defend the water rights of the people.”
Dixon has Native American roots and says historically the Sioux nations have encountered many controversial issues.
“We had the massacre of Wounded Knee, and then we had the removal through the Dawes Act splitting up the tribe so they could build a railroad through tribal lands,” said Dixon. “So in one sense they are doing the same thing with the pipeline.”
Another reason why native people are opposing the project is because of the lack of transparency. The National Indian Education Association released an official statement saying, “Despite federal laws and Executive Order, the permitting process for the Dakota Access Pipeline was anything but transparent, tribal consultation did not occur and even the Department of the Interior’s concerns over tribal water supplies and cultural resources were ignored.”
As of now, President Barack Obama has placed a temporary “stop work order” and is considering other routes, but it is going to take further action to completely stop construction.
“I think students need to know how they can be allies to native people, and there is several calls to action they can participate in,” Dixon said. “We could really have an impact as a university…It doesn’t affect just Standing Rock, it affects the nation as a whole.”
Some of these calls to action are going to take place right on campus.
CPP’s Native American Pipeline program is located in building 94, and members are currently setting up several events to show their support of Standing Rock.
They are planning on hosting a silent march, a booth where students can sign a petition to stop the DAPL, a cleaning supply drive that will be sent to the protester’s camps and a school supply drive for students at the Defenders of the Sacred Water School located on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Robert Diep / The Poly Post
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