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When did Water become so political?

You know you can't drink oil. Like, really. It's not a good idea. The villain who fought James Bond in Quantum of Solace already tried and things didn't turn out so well for him.

That's why it's hard for me to fathom why so many people choose to look the other way as corporations privatize, commodify and endanger a natural resource that the earth provides for free -- water.

Of course, it costs money to maintain the infrastructure that large portions of the population depend on to make water suitable for drinking, cooking and cleaning. However, there is usually no need for the average American to purchase water that is bottled up and sold on store shelves for your everyday needs and yet, the bottled variety has become the only source of clean water for many communities across the country.

While this is the result of corporate greed and our government's negligence regarding infrastructure, as well as the nation's excessive use of fossil fuels, most of us are also at fault because we're too careless to demand answers, justice and protection for our country's water supply.

If you understand how important clean water is and agree that it's a basic human right, you can imagine my surprise at the type of response received during the Mini Wiconi Blogathon, hosted with Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project. They connected with people via social networks, writing groups and visiting blogs.

Prior to and during this time, I reached out to nearly two dozen bloggers in addition to folks at a few organizations (all whom had previously participated in activities concerning human rights issues) about spreading awareness regarding the film Mini Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock directed by Lucian Read and calling on banks to withdraw their lines of credit from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Read's film delivers an overview of the Indigenous led struggle to protect the water in Lake Oahe from being contaminated by DAPL, a hazardous construction project that is proposed to carry fracked oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, into Illinois. Owned by Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, the pipeline was originally slated to be built near the city of Bismarck in North Dakota but later rerouted due to concerns about a potential oil leak.

Following conversations with a number of people who were encouraged to participate in the Mni Wiconi blogathon, I noticed a common thread that kept popping up -- some people were reluctant to get involved in what they deemed a "political" issue.

Associating a community's right to clean water with politics was, and remains, a trend that gives me pause because I never considered what's happening at Standing Rock to be a political matter. What I understood it to be is an oil company brazenly encroaching on Native American land, putting the water in danger, and buying off the local government and law enforcement to carry out atrocities on the company's behalf.

To make matters worse, no one in the mainstream media is giving this multifaceted struggle at Standing Rock the attention it deserves which means, as we found out during the Mni Wiconi blogathon, there are still people in the country who don't know about what's going on in North Dakota. How can that happen in the modern age of 400+ cable television channels, satellite radio, and local news feeds that are updated around the clock?!

Anyway, I guess what began as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's battle to protect the Missouri River ended up becoming political in nature somewhere along the line.

Hopefully, we can get back to the real issue at hand....

Our Native brothers and sisters on this planet just want, among other things, to ensure that we can all pass on a healthy environment to the next generation.

Moving forward, because the small sample of participation left little room for a random drawing, our Do1Thing GIVEAWAY Winners include the first participating blogger as well as Shannon and Misha's favorite comments. Of the two remaining gift packs I've designated for my wonderful Co-Hosts (you ladies rock!), one is up for grabs so I've offered it to a local radio station. If they take me up on it, the gift pack will go to a station listener.

Congratulations to these bloggers who will receive an emergency preparedness kit with first aid items, water bottle, KIND breakfast, etc. and a 2017 Do1Thing Calendar with step-by-step Water emergency plans:

As we wrap up this blogathon, I'd like to thank Co-Hosts Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project for helping people in other parts of the country learn more about the struggle at Standing Rock. I would also like to thank the hard working staff members at Do1Thing for creating a 12-month program that gives citizens the information and tools necessary for getting a head start on being prepared for a water crisis and other emergencies.

"We don't want the world to end up like Flint Michigan or Corpus Christi Texas."

- Prolific TheRapper, Rosebud Sioux Tribe member

Oil or Water, where do YOU stand?

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Reader Comments (3)

Unfortunately, most things are political. Demanding respect as a woman, or as an African-American by calling out disrespectful, racist or sexist language is "seeking political correctness and an overreaction."

This issue with DAPL also involves oil and big money, so it's DEFINITELY political, even though it should be about water and showing the same respect to the sacred burial grounds of our indigenous people as was granted to Bismark.

Congrats to the winners of the giveaway.

January 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Brown

Well-written article. I am all for preserving water sources. I grew up near the shore of Lake Michigan. When an article first appeared that Canada was planning to bury nuclear waste within miles of the Great Lakes, I almost cried. There is no argument that should allow nuclear waste within miles of one of so few fresh water sources in the world.

Keep up the fight!

February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGail M Baugniet

This is a great piece, thank you! And thank you for putting all of this together and expending so much time and energy on helping our indigenous community protect our water and earth. There are a lot of scary things going on right now, and this is one of them. I was sad to see how little participation we got, despite our efforts, but I know people tend to avoid topics that can cause strain or lose followers on their blogs. I do the same, I admit. Less so on my Facebook page, where I'll talk about the things that matter most to me. But even there, when I post about DAPL or Native issues, it goes largely ignored. Anyway, thank you again for taking up this issue and fighting so hard for it.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Lawrence

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