“When they drill upon the earth, let them eat their corn, their purchased corn; let them drink their water, their purchased water. The clouds and the mountains they will climb in the time of their defeat; in the time of mutinies and rebellions. ”
– The Prophecy of Oxlahun Tiku | Katun 13 Ahau
The Book of Books of Chilam Balam
On the banks of the Potomac River, the monuments of empire remain intact. But just a few hundred yards away, descendants of those who first settled along her creeks and basins are marching to protect the only clean water source they have left.
The crowd that came to support the Standing Rock Sioux and all native people in Washington D.C. today is modest compared to the thousands that have camped out 1,500 miles away in North Dakota. Representatives of over one hundred tribal nations – unprecedented in history – have gathered to defend the integrity of the Missouri River and an entire ecosystem that will be put at risk by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Water has been at the center of the war against the First Nations for centuries. Ethnic cleansing, broken treaties and legal chicanery have all been used to dispossess the original people of North America. No enemy, however, has proven as destructive as the Army Corps of Engineers.
Since 1944, the federal agency has built dozens of dams along the “Big Muddy”. The Missouri River, once a thriving source of game and fresh water for Native Americans, has been harnessed to provide power to urban centers like Kansas City. Among the consequences has been the flooding of hundreds of thousands of acres of reservation land, as well as the decimation of wildlife.
The artificial lakes created by the dams have themselves been contaminated with toxic waste and pesticides from industrial agriculture operations, causing an epidemic of cancer diagnosis and other illnesses among Native populations in the area.
While they have been fighting this war for more than 500 years, the fact that it has reached this point should be a warning to the entire world.
Those who benefit and profit from an obsolete energy paradigm will do everything in their power to maintain it. Wether it’s our government protecting the interests of big oil with rubber bullets, mace, tasers and attack dogs or your neighbor running over your bicycle with his S.U.V., the reality is that all of it will seem trivial compared to what happens to us if we don’t move on from the destructive nature of fossil fuels.
Water is life.
Choosing to dispute this fact, makes us fools. Continuing to choose oil and gas over our rivers and lakes makes us fossil fools.