Learning from the past and each other is the only way to move forward

Photo+credit%3A+Carlos+Marquez

Photo credit: Carlos Marquez

Monique Nethington

It’s no secret that people who make the loudest noise get the most attention. Think of a baby screaming at the top of its lungs until its mother gives it whatever it needs.

What happens to the group that is quiet and reserved? A group, that despite all the misfortunes, practices patience and quietly address any issues it faces. Is this group given equal attention?

The answer is no, it is not given the attention it deserves.

Nobody should ever be forgotten because no single group’s well-being, or cause is greater than another. We should all be equal despite race, creed or socioeconomic background.

A prime example of this in today’s society is the injustice that the Native Americans have faced for centuries.

More recently, however, is the injustice that is happening against the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota.

People need to see that there is struggle beyond their own and if everybody stands together they can fight against injustice in our society no matter how it may affect them.

For those who are not well versed in the subject, here is a little background.

Beginning in in December 2014, Dakota Access LLC began to move forward on plans to build a pipeline that would stem from Patoka, Illinois to the Bakken Supply Area in North Dakota. The pipeline would extend through four states and over 40 counties.

Most people may think, “What’s the big deal? Pipelines are built all the time with no problem at all.”

The PROBLEM is that this pipeline passes just a half-mile from the Sioux Reservation and directly through the Missouri River, which is the primary source of water for the reservation.

The BIG DEAL is that once again, Native Americans are being pushed out of an area that is rightfully theirs and nobody cares.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office raised environmental and land preservation concerns to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency in charge of the nation’s waterways.

The THPO made claims that the land in which they want to build on is of historical value by being an ancestral burial ground and is therefore sovereign.

It is important to note that the area in which the Dakota Access LLC wish to build on is exactly the place where a Native American chief named Sitting Bull was killed.

Sitting Bull is one of the most prominent fixtures in Native American history.

He was able to help unite the Sioux tribes and lead them through the Great Sioux Wars against the U.S. Authorities in the 1870s.

This proves that the land is sacred and should not be touched by anyone except the people of the Sioux Nation.

Despite these concerns from the THPO, and multiple other government agencies, the USACE still concluded that it found no historical value in the area and issued a fast tracked permit to the project in July 2016.

This prompted the Standing Rock Sioux to file an injunction on the pipeline building and sue the USACE to compel them to withdraw the permits.

In response to this, the Energy Transfer Partners sued the Stand Rock Sioux Chairman and other tribal members for interfering with construction.

History is repeating itself by the US government, and now big businesses, thinking of only the mighty dollar.

They have zero regard for what they are doing and who it affects. These people are willing to go to any measure to get what they want.

It was not until presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested for vandalism that mainstream media picked up the story and brought it to light.

It was not until violence was unleashed upon the hundreds of different Native American tribes that came to protest alongside the Standing Rock Tribe, that people began to care.

The scenes from the protest were similar to the protest in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

It’s a scene that radiates horror and disgust, and the saddest part about it is that the violence completely overshadows something that is absolutely powerful.

If you take a closer look at the scene, you can see multiculturalism at it’s finest.

In a country that is so divided, it is refreshing to see a collective of people from different backgrounds coming together to stand in unity for something they believe to be right.

This generation needs more of that. This whole country needs more of that.

It’s inspiring how poised the group of protesters are and how spiritually grounded they can be.

If Native Americans from different walks of life can come together and support each other, why can’t the rest of America?

Everyone needs to cut the bull. It’s complete and utter pettiness.

STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT THE MISFORTUNES YOU FACE, because you are not the only one with problems.

Everyone complains about the misgivings of the world, but they do nothing to fight against them, or change.

You can’t expect reactions without actions. You can’t expect change if you do nothing to try and change it.

NOW is the time to take action. Look at what is going on in the world around you.

Just look at the absolutely horrifying things that are happening to the protestors.

There are reports of people maced and tagged with numbers on their arms and kept in cages like dogs.

Yet, despite all this, they stay grounded and united. They are neighbors, friends and strangers standing as one to fight against a cause.

They may not know any other person’s story but they stand together to create one.

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

In that moment differences don’t matter. The only thing that does matter is that the right thing is done, so take notes and listen.

Embrace the world and the culture around you, care about more than just yourself.

Whether we’re family, friends, acquaintances or complete strangers, we all want the same things which is for the one’s we love to be happy, safe and healthy.

Race does not matter. Religion does not matter. Money does not matter.

So embrace one another, stand together and fight for what is right because without each other we have no one.