I am an American in the sense that I was born in the United States of America, but I am not an American in the sense that my ancestors come from here. By blood I am as much a colonist of this country as were my first ancestors who came here over three hundred years ago. By right of ius soli under natural law I am an American, but by right of ius sanguinis under that same natural code I am, in composite, European, after all all of my ancestors come from Europe, primarily from Northern, and in part from Western Europe.
Under this natural ius sanguinis, which in my book trumps all other laws of inheritance, if one is to look for a true, and pure American, one should not turn to someone like me, nor even our President. Rather, turn to the most marginalised, most detracted and forgotten of all Americans, the original Americans.
For the past many months, a number of oil companies and big banks have been pushing the Dakota Access Pipeline across the American continent, like an axe cleaving a body in two down its spine. I am opposed to this pipeline on environmental grounds, primarily due to the lack of foresight by the companies involved in its construction. After all we are only a few years, if not decades away from green energies from solar panels to wind mills to new-fangled hydroenergies taking the place of oil as our main fuel source. We have the technology and the means to construct energy producing mechanisms that are both efficient and clean to use.
I am equally opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline because of the horrendously negative effects it has had, and will continue to have upon the Native peoples through whose lands it crosses. This pipeline is yet another good idea for those in the boardroom, that ignores those who it most effects. Its design and planning ignores the fact that the seemingly empty lands of the Great Plains are in fact not empty at all, not the Great American Desert of Zebulon Pike’s proclaiming, but rather a land long occupied, long called home by a great many peoples.
So many of us Americans at some point or another played Cowboys vs. Indians as children. So many of us grew up seeing our Native Americans neighbours as less than human, mere sideshow attraction, once a noble race of barbarians now outdone by the progress that is the United States of America. We grew to disregard the Native Americans, believing that we did not need an excuse to take their homes, wrench their children’s cultures from their hearts, trample on their freedoms, and destroy their lives as if they never mattered in the first place. This has been just one expression of the systemic racism and xenophobia that infects our society like the Plague, that racism known at some point to all who are not the perennial W.A.S.P.s. We strive for better, through our founding documents, through the inspirational words of our greatest leaders, through our democracy and its most cherished institution of citizenship, yet of course those of colder hearts amongst us have found every rat’s hole, every crevice in the law which they could manipulate to their own ends, and to the detriment of all others.
For over five hundred years we the European Americans have inflicted the greatest, most unspeakable wrongs upon the Native Americans. Through conquest we have driven them from the most fertile parts of this continent to the most arid. We have built our society against them, and refused them entry into it. We have forced them onto reservations and left them for dead.
Today, as the Dakota Access Pipeline is being carved across the Great Plains, crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, we are not only putting the Native American peoples, like the Standing Rock Sioux in danger, we are putting ourselves in danger. Should the Dakota Access Pipeline leak, as it surely will at some point in the future, after all it is manmade, it will poison the rest of the Mississippi-Missouri River Drainage Basin, which includes the waters of 31 states.
Let us change the narrative of Native American history for the better. Let us stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and all future projects that disregard the rights of any American, whether Native or otherwise. Let us embrace the true meaning of citizenship, that all citizens are equal under the law. By civil law I am an American, just as the members of the Standing Rock Sioux are Americans. By natural law I cannot help but recognise and embrace that this continent, America, from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, was the land of the Native Americans first. I honour their rights, and offer my voice and pen in support of them, my fellow Americans.
What evils we inflict upon one American, we inflict upon all of us. We are all Americans.