We’re in the next wave of assimilation, our land has been mortgaged out to those who don’t know its value or how important it is to our people. We have left our future, our children’s futures, and the question of a healthy environment in your hands and what do we have left? We have continuously been forced to assimilate to live how their society thinks is the only way. Everything has been taken repeatedly, every promise broken. And we have to accept it. Our lands have been taken, mined, and extracted of resources that will never be available again because of white man’s GREED. It’s destroying us.
White people in the capitol, who don’t live anywhere near the devastation that we have to deal with on a daily basis, are making decisions that don’t affect them. Yet they profit from selling out the people they claim to represent. We were forced to relocate here, and it is the only lands that we have left that ties us to our ancestors. The intruders can leave whenever they want, we don’t have that option. We will have to deal with the aftermath of the irreparable environmental destruction. These white people are only here to profit off our oil, which is another flood of the same invaders who came to our lands centuries ago.
These people have no ties to this community, their roots aren’t here. They came from Europe and settled here. They have no respect for our Mother Earth. They don’t know any better because their history proves their trail of destruction. They blinded our people with lies and greed. They told us how safe it is to extract oil and to build their pipelines. We do not know if our water is safe to drink, if the air is safe to breathe, if our land is healthy to sustain life. We are surrounded by flares while our people die in the winter. We live next to the encroachers on our lands. We see pipelines running through the lands as if they are veins of our Mother Earth. The poison isn’t going to end.
Our youth is standing up to fight to protect what we have left. They are in fact Modern Day Warriors because they choose to do what so many cannot do; stand up to the destruction. They are being harassed, threatened, and smeared by whites whose families came here to exploit their homes. They have not been taught to respect the Mother Earth and these intruders say that they are wrong for wanting to protect what we have been left. They are not entitled to continue slander our youth for fighting to protect what we hold sacred. If they cannot respect our beliefs, they should leave.
Lisa DeVille (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation)