Many organization involved in the Iowa NoDAPL movement have condemned the arson that has, twice, destroyed Energy Transfer Partner equipment. Most are shocked and dismayed by the arson and reactions range from visceral to cynical. The overarching thoughts are that this was a lone actor, a disgruntled employee or even the Energy Transfer Partners themselves in an attempt to garner media sympathy. No one knows who did this, but perhaps the $100,000 reward that ETP has offered might bring results. In the meantime, mainstream media needs to stop attributing this vandalism to any of the water protectors in Iowa.
Without a doubt, Indigenous Iowa completely disapproves of this counter productive act and, like our relatives at Standing Rock, we promote only peaceful and prayerful action. Concurrently, we have also been defending our relatives in similar allegations concerning missing, injured and slain cattle and horses around the Cannonball area. Many ND citizens have alluded that water protectors are to blame for these acts and some have gone so far as to carry a firearm at all times. So now, there are trigger happy ranchers hanging out by the camps and money hungry Iowans looking for a culprit.
But, we are not shocked.
We are not surprised at that this sort of finger pointing because Indigenous people encounter this type of behavior everyday. During harsh periods of colonization, the frontier was rife with false allegations. This nation was built on false allegations. Our ancestors were slaughtered based on what settlers wanted and subsequently because of what they said.
A perfect example of this behavior was just noted by LaRae Meadows, from Native News Online. She wrote, “Many Water Protectors are reminded of the story of Conquering Bear, a Lakota chief who was killed while trying to make peace over the death of a white man’s cow in his territory in 1854. Conquering Bear attempted to negotiate a reconciliation with the United States Army and cow’s owner. Talks broke down, and he was shot in the back and killed by the Army. His death lead to the First Great Sioux War.” 1
Today, we still walk this path, which is demonstrated by the many falsehoods mainstream society espouses when anyone dare disagree with the colonized mindset. So, no, we are not shocked. We have learned from experience that finger pointing is a very effective tactic. But lately, thanks to civil rights and social media, we have more support to defend ourselves. Now, when modern colonizers (the media conglomerates, our corrupted governments and the oil giants) create lies, we stand peacefully in place and hold up our mirrors.
Plains Cree/ Salteaux
M.A. in Religious Studies - Native American Religion and Culture - University of Iowa
Minor in American Indian Native studies - University of Iowa
Founder of Indigenous Iowa