[Marisa] Van Zile’s tribe [the Sokaogon Chippewa band] fought environmentally destructive mining practices for years, she points out. “My tribe battled these big mining companies for almost three decades. I know what this feels like. I was born into this.” As such, she’s used to companies finding ways around the law, and the government turning a blind eye. “You can’t just take somebody’s word. You have to watch.”
Van Zile points out, too, that other Native-led environmental movements aren’t getting the attention that Standing Rock has garnered. “Indigenous people all over the world have similar battles going on, against things that are devastating the land and the water and cultures.” She points to the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk nation, who have been fighting to keep their ancestral burial mounds intact even as mining companies try to destroy them to reach copper deposits underneath, or mining under the Menominee River, damaging the ancestral lands and water of the Menominee tribe.
Obama’s neoliberal silence on this, as Native American men and women suffer horribly, is extremely telling.