Protectors at Standing Rock in Cannon Ball, N.D., protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline
Twitter

In about four minutes, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell reminded liberal white America that it has the blood of indigenous people on their hands.

In a riveting segment on Aug. 26, O'Donnell called what is happening in North Dakota to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe a "morally embarrassing reminder" of the genocide that Europeans committed in the name of greed and imperialism.

Advertisement

The Standing Rock tribe has been fighting hard to protect its water and ancestral lands as the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline gets underway. The Dakota Access Pipeline Project was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 27 despite strong resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux and surrounding tribes. The project, a 1,172-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline, will transport approximately 470,000 barrels of oil per day across four states.

The pipeline will cross under the Missouri River and Lake Oahe—1 mile north of the Standing Rock reservation—and construction of it will tear through ancestral burial lands.

In the following segment, O'Donnell talks about how ridiculous and tragic it is that the Standing Rock tribe could be arrested for protesting on its own land by the descendants of the same white people who killed their ancestors.

“Dakota” means friend, friendly. The people who gave that name to the Dakotas have sadly never been treated as friends. The people whose language was used to name the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states … the Native American tribes, the people who were here before us, long before us, have never been treated as friends. They have been treated as enemies.

The original sin of this country is that we invaders shot and murdered our way across the land, killing every Native American we could, and making treaties with the rest. This country was founded on genocide before the word “genocide” was invented. … When we finally stopped actively killing Native Americans for the crime of living here before us, we then proceeded to violate every single treaty we made with the tribes—every single treaty.

We piled crime on top of crime on top of crime, against the people whose offense against us was simply that they lived where we wanted to live. … There are people alive today whose grandparents were in the business of killing Native Americans; that's how recent these crimes are.

That we still have Native Americans left in this country to be arrested for trespassing on their own land is testament not to the mercy of the genocidal invaders who seized and occupied their land, but to the stunning strength and the 500 years of endurance and the undying dignity of the people who were here long before us.

Watch O'Donnell make it plain below:

Also on The Root:

#NoDAPL: Arrest Warrants Issued for Green Party’s Stein, Baraka for Standing with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Advertisement

#NoDAPL: DOJ Halts Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline in Wake of Standing Rock Protests