Letters to the Editor

The differences in protests at Malheur, Standing Rock

Protesters shield their faces as a line of law enforcement officers holding large canisters with pepper spray shout orders to move back during a standoff in Morton County, N.D., last week.
Protesters shield their faces as a line of law enforcement officers holding large canisters with pepper spray shout orders to move back during a standoff in Morton County, N.D., last week. The Bismarck Tribune

Much more than racial oppression

Re “Racial injustice in pipeline protest” (Letters, Nov. 2): When you look at the difference between the Standing Rock Sioux pipeline protest and the Malheur wildlife refuge occupation, two things stand out.

First, as Jean Jackman pointed out in the letter to the editor, a bunch of heavily armed white militants were treated with kid gloves for months, and then acquitted at trial, while, at Standing Rock, a large number of unarmed Native Americans were attacked by heavily armed, militarized police. Not only were many arrested and charged with felonies for nothing more than occupying what the Fort Laramie treaty says is their land, but the North Dakota authorities have waged a war on freedom of the press as well, arresting reporters, confiscating their equipment, etc.

The second point that bears mentioning is that the Malheur occupation occurred on land that belongs to the U.S. government, and the Bundys were trying to provoke a confrontation over their belief that they, and people like them, have a right to use that land free of charge instead of it being held in perpetuity for the benefit of all of us. Standing Rock, on the other hand, is a fight against allowing land to be used for naked profit and against the environmental dangers inherent in allowing a pipeline to cross a major source of water for millions of people.

Greed seems to have won the first battle. I hope we don’t allow it to win the second one.

Dawn Wolfson,

Cameron Park

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