Are Native Americans Being Sold Out By Elected Officials Via Large Campaign Contributions Coming From The Oil & Gas Industry?
Thanksgiving, while having its roots going back to a shared feast between the Wampanoag Native Americans and the Plymouth colonists in 1621, was not officially established until 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. A war that, by many interpretations, dealt with issues of division and the mistreatment of people.
As many observe the holiday throughout our country as a time for giving thanks and commemorating a festive coming together of Native Americans and Pilgrims — the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is under threat to its water source and land by government and private entities that value profit and business over people’s lives and heritage.
Words Backed By Oil
On October 19, 2016 the Agriculture Commissioner for North Dakota, Doug Goehring, issued the following statement regarding concerns over the impact that the protests are having on farmers, ranchers and property in the area:
“Farmers and ranchers near the protest area have not only been threatened and intimidated as they try to go about their normal agricultural activities, but are suffering financial impacts as well. The protesters have been trespassing on private property, cutting fences and stealing hay. We’ve also been able to confirm that numerous livestock, horses and bison have been slaughtered in the area of the camp. Roads are being blocked by activists in masks and motorists are being forced off the road. There is just an overall lack of respect for property and the personal safety of our farmers and ranchers and their families. The protesters want others to adhere to the law but it is hypocritical when they are committing these egregious acts. It illustrates a lack of respect for the health, safety and property of our farmers, ranchers and rural residents and is unacceptable.”
Given the credibility problems that the government and various elected officials have had in their long history of betrayals — the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is certainly on the right side of this issue, as are the many folks around the nation standing in support of them.
Citing the “lack of respect” argument against people is valid — if you’re referring to the Native Americans who are being hosed down with water cannons in freezing temperatures while being insulted, disrespected, and mistreated — and sold out by certain elected officials for the sake of staying in office.
Follow the Money
The statement issued by the Agriculture Commissioner to the public seems rather overly sympathetic to the oil industry viewpoint and very much adverse to the Native Americans and those protesting.
A look at the campaign contributions to “Friends of Goehring” provide a bit more depth into those constituencies that fund his ability to campaign and stay in elected office. A few searches on the internet, and charting out of campaign dollars, show many of the top contributors to the Commissioner hail from the Oil & Gas industry.
Similarly, the chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop, has released a statement this past November 15, 2016 blaming the Obama administration for the protests and saying the delays are, “a mockery of our constitutional system” all while having Oil & Gas serve as the top industry contributing to his political campaign since 2010 keeping him in office.
It is curious that this Congressman views the administrations review of the situation — and the many people adversely affected — as a slight to the Constitution.
Many would argue that being beholden to an industry that contributes more than any other group to one’s campaign is a mockery to our campaign finance system in elections by subverting the voices of people to make way for the agendas of big business.
The hypocrisy at play is when elected officials use the bully-pulpit of their offices in issuing statements without illustrating the motives, money and players that hold sway over their thinking and future policy decision making. Thus when elected officials are out making statements and issuing strong rhetoric — perhaps it is disingenuous and delivered with ulterior motives to please the hand that feeds their campaigns.
ARTICLES BY STEPHEN KRASNER