All of this drama is obscured by the grand but mixed messages of the protesters.  The fundamental issue sioux-indians-on-horseback-by-heyn-1899-280is a 1,170-mile pipeline that would cross hundreds of waterways, wetlands, private parcels, and span four states.   For the environmentalists this is a symbol of America’s carbon dependence.  Even though this one piece of pipe is a tiny part of the US oil supply, the signal burns more brightly because of the climate denial of the elected President Trump.
One bit of pipeline might have been symbolic but for the romance added by the image of the noble Sioux.  In North Dakota, the pipeline route lies close to tribal land and the tiny band of Standing Rock Sioux , supported by  other Native American tribes, has challenged the project not just as an environmental issue but as an attack on indigenous right to the land beyond formal, legal boundaries.  In 1868 U.S. Treaty of Fort Laramie set aside the land from the Missouri river in North Dakota to to the Black Hills in South Dakota.  Sadly, the drama on cable news and the internet never gives us reporting pn the history of the treaty or the feelings on the Lakota people.

I worry that all of this is futile, a paroxysm of the deep sense of pain coming from the election of Trump.

It seems all too likely that the environmental issue and the issue of tribal rights will mutate into something monstrous when the wind and snow come, temperatures drop below zero, and someone, a cop, a soldier,or a protester, gets killed.

What will Trump do?