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Dakota Pipeline Construction Blocked by Army Corp of Engineers

Vivian Sun ’18, Section editor

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The Department of the Army stated that it would not allow the Dakota Pipeline to run half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4. Crowds of people have been in Cannon Ball, North Dakota since spring 2016 to protest the construction of the oil pipeline that would run through reservation. There have been violent confrontations with law enforcement.

The Dakota Pipeline is an almost finished oil pipeline that will cross four states and bring 170,000 barrels of oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The section that is near the reservation will link two critical parts of the pipeline together. Members of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are against completing the project near their reservation, stating that it would cross sacred ancestral lands even though it is not on their reservation. They are also worried about the environmental damage if the pipeline broke near where it crosses the Missouri River.

The Army Corps, after considering the issue with input from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the history of taking Native American land, has decided to block the pipeline and will look for alternative routes to run it.

In order to highlight this important issue and other current events, English teacher Matthew Roach has been holding daily discussions in his junior english class.

“[The Dakota Pipeline] is particularly relevant to our literature on Sherman Alexie, and I think it had some interesting dimensions involving social media, protests, and historical rights,” Roach said.

His English class had been reading The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, a collection of interconnected short stories centering around Native American life on a reservation by Sherman Alexie, a Native American.

“I thought the discussion was good. A lot of it was figuring out what the issues at stake were and understanding what was going on, [but] I think students did a great job with being engaged and thinking about it, and also connecting it to the historical context,” Roach continued.

“I think [the Army’s decision to block the pipeline] is great because the Native Americans were against it, and it’s good that [the Army] decided to respect their land. There are different sides to [each] argument, but the discussion revealed the thoughts of different people in our class and I got to see their opinions on current events,” Abhirami Elayidom ’18 said about her experiences in class.

“It’s important to keep a curriculum relevant and anytime you can draw connections between literature and life and current events or history and current events, there’s a sense that there’s a real importance about the things we’re talking about in class,” Roach elaborated on his incorporation of his discussions in his classes.

“I think [the discussions] are good; they spark conversations between people. It also introduces new topics and current events that I’m not aware of; it makes me aware of those problems going around,” Elayidom ’18 added in support of the exchanges in her English class.


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The student news site of Peddie School
Dakota Pipeline Construction Blocked by Army Corp of Engineers