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Request[AMA Request] Astronomers of Reddit

Apr 15th 2018 by Jewsafrewski • 8 Questions • 2633 Points

Hello Redditors, my name is Charles Walker and I serve on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council.

You may remember us from standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we continue to fight in court. Our Tribe recently submitted a report to the Army Corps highlighting the dangerous impacts of the pipeline on our people and homeland (there is a link to the report below), and we are preparing for a spill.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has already leaked five times along its route, and our Tribe's report to the Army Corps shows that the current leak detection system can't detect all spills under our water supply. At this time a spill of more than 11,000 barrels per day would go undetected, and would devastate our homeland. The impacts of spills and leaks on our community have not been properly addressed by the Army Corps, and they are unable to address a worst case oil discharge. And so we started a Clean Water Campaign so that we can establish a water safety system, which involves water monitoring systems, training a response team and purchasing equipment for spill response.

You can learn more about the Clean Water Campaign here: www.YouCaring.com/StandingRockCleanWater

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's Report: (https://www.standingrock.org/sites/default/files/uploads/srst_impacts_of_an_oil_spill_2.21.2018.pdf) [Our website is down at this time, but it should be back up in an hour or so hopefully!]

Link to our Facebook/Twitter: https://twitter.com/StandingRockST https://www.facebook.com/Standing-Rock-Sioux-Tribe-402298239798452/

Proof: https://imgur.com/dsblYlo

Q:

Hello! I am almost finished with my undergrad in history. I do enjoy U.S history, and Early Modern Europe is my favorite. Other than teaching, would you have advice on other fields to go into?

A:

Hi, I run a chapter of student engineers who develop clean water, sanitation, and hygiene projects. We are starting a domestic team this year. What can we do you help communities like yours ?


Q:

A BA in history will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. Think about what you've learned how to do. You understand how change happens. You know how to take a mass of unorganized stuff and organize it into meaningful categories, and then how to create a narrative from that organization. For more detail about this see: https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/tuning-the-history-discipline/2016-history-discipline-core

The AHA has collected stories of History BA recipients who have pursued a range of diverse and exciting careers. You can read about them at http://blog.historians.org/category/what-to-do-with-a-ba-in-history/.

A:

Reaching out directly to the Tribe is your best bet, we'll message you with an email address! Thank you for thinking of us.


Q:

There's a quote from churchill that "History is written by the victor".

How much truth do you think there is to that statement, and have you ever found yourself being intentionally or unintentionally biased when writing?

A:

What can the average Redditor do to help not only your people, but all Native Americans?


Q:

With regard to the history of the Civil War - both professional and popular - Churchill was wrong, at least from the 1880's well into 1950s. During that period the dominant narrative was in essence written by white southerners, or white northerners who accepted the notion that the Civil War was centrally about things other than slavery. Professional historians have revised that interpretation based on new questions, new sources, and a more inclusive approach to historical work. To a considerable extent American popular culture has lagged, and one still sees Civil War and Reconstruction history that was written by the losing side (i.e. the Confederacy).

"Bias" is a tricky term. I prefer to think about how all of us see the past (and the present, not to mention the future) through lenses shaped by our own past, our own current context, and our ideas about the future. Professional historians are taught to weigh evidence with an awareness of the power and shape of these lenses. So a professional historian brings a perspective, but is still obligated to stick to the evidence when constructing a narrative.

A:

To support Standing Rock they can donate to our Clean Water Campaign to help us prepare for a oil spill and ensure water safety, and you can continue to reach out to your representatives and advocate for the rights of Standing Rock and other Tribes. There are other Tribes dealing with the same issues today like for example Navajo land has some pipeline issues.


Q:

Hi! Can confederate monuments be found in other countries around the world? If so, how did this come to be? Thanks!

A:

Was the pipeline ever approved by the tribe?

How could the protests been handled better to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the people protesting themselves?

Do you have a "list of demands" which, if met, would allow you to support the pipeline?


Q:

Brazil, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland. In Ireland and Scotland, these are communities Confederate army officers born in these towns. In Canada they commemorate a brief visit by Jefferson Davis. Brazil's monuments can be attributed to expats from the US South.

A:

No the pipeline was not approved by our Tribe.

How could it have been handled better is a good question, a lot of the individuals who came out were not prepared for North Dakota winters, a lot of people were thinking they could withstand our winters during the entire protest, that's one piece of why, they could have been better informed and better prepared when coming here to stand with us. People thought they could just wing it, and that couldn't and didn't happen, and the result was that Standing Rock put out dumpsters, but people abandoned their posts and left things behind. I don't know how Standing Rock could have taken better steps, individual the council told people to come prepared.

As for supporting the pipeline, no. The council put their foot down before the pipeline was built, and we still hold the position that we do not want the pipeline threatening our homeland and people's access to clean water.


Q:

Can you provide any insight on how the local populations feel about these monuments?

A:

What advice can you share for non-Native allies wanting to support your Tribe and others impacted by colonialism? (Huge question I know, sorry)


Q:

No, I can't. But an excellent topic for a research paper.

A:

Standing with those Nations and helping to project their voice is beneficial, this can be done through raising awareness online or being involved in your local communities.


Q:

Are there any other countries out there that have a similar issue with monuments to a rebellion that compares to the civil war?

A:

What other concerns do you have about the pipeline that do not involve leaks? Have there been any form of compensation given to the tribes for the installation of the pipeline?


Q:

Interesting question. Surely there are monuments to failed rebellions (think Ireland). But I don't think there are monuments to individuals whose cause has been completely discredited. Usually a government will remove memorials to individuals who committed treason. Such individuals generally get statues only if their revolution is successful.

In Russia and Hungary, statues from the Soviet era have been removed to parks that are in essence outdoor museums

A:

The process in which they went about obtaining the permits and the lands in which the pipeline had passed through. They go through treaty lands, yet the lands that belong to the people of Standing Rock were never consulted and so it's a form of trespass.

As for compensation, no there has been no compensation.


Q:

I was born and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Are there any odd or interesting facts regarding statues, monuments, or otherwise historical locations inside or outside of the park there that as a local I may have never known?

A:

Do you feel Standing Rock's message was successful? How so / why not?

And since Standing Rock I have noticed that there has been an increase in native / first nations activism! Do you feel this will continue? If so, where do you hope it ends up?

Edit: one more! Edit2: words

Do you feel that this activism has been beneficial to your youth. I read about the Lakota teens going to DC, do you have hope that they will be heard?


Q:

I've not been to Vicksburg. A thoughtful visitor would consider whether the soldiers serving the Army of the United States of America are being considered as serving a cause equivalent to those who were in rebellion against that government.

A:

First question: First of all the pipeline happened, the pipeline is laid and there's oil flowing and so in that aspect, no. It wasn't as successful as we would have liked it to be sure, and it was successful in that it brought people together, bringing Tribes and Nations together, bringing members of the Oceti Sakowin together, that we stood in solidarity together against the pipeline, and together for the rights of all Indigenous people.

Second Question: Yes, I don't know if it's been an increase but it's certainly brought a light to it. Social media has been this new avenue to highlight these different activists, it has given a voice to Native communities to stand up against what goes against our values. I do hope it continues, it's our hope that people stand up for human rights.

Third Question: Yes, it has been very beneficial for our youth, it has shown them that their voices are heard at the Tribal and national level. It's amplified their voice and we are very proud of them.


Q:

What is your opinion on monuments that remember the fallen on both sides? Such as the unit monuments that mark the landscape of Gettysburg. I am of the opinion that there is a lot of military history that can be gathered from the locations of these monuments.

A:

Could you talk a little about what's gotten you here, how people have been involved, and what there's still to be done? How many people are still in legal limbo due to their actions? Do you feel corporate/government response has been appropriate?


Q:

True. These monuments are very useful for the study of military history, for research that focuses on what one might call the mechanics of the war. But it's important to remember that the causes for which they are fighting are not equivalent. The defense of the Union (i.e. many US Army soldiers did not see themselves fighting against slavery) is surely not equivalent to the defense of a union created explicitly to perpetuate human slavery.

A:

People are still involved through donations that go toward our legal costs and Clean Water Campaign. There is still a long ways to go with litigation, our Tribe just recently submitted our report in response to Judge Boasberg's remand order calling for a more in-depth analysis on the impacts of the pipeline. Also our technical team and water resources department are currently preparing on how to address a leak. We need to establish water monitoring wells and a emergency management plan, that's what our Clean Water Campaign is all about. The threat of a spill lingers and we must be prepared to protect our homeland. As of how many people are still in legal limbo we do not know, that would be a question for the Water Protector Legal Collective and Lakota People's Law Project.

As for the corporate/government response being appropriate, I think it was appropriate until this new administration overstepped laws because for example under the Obama Administration everything he went by was according to the book, he went by the law especially with environmental laws. This administration overlooked those laws to expedite the process for the pipeline.


Q:

What is the impact of a statue being built of a person on the way he/she is perceived in society? Do we have statues in history that are built to depict the horrific nature or crimes by an individual. If not , then can there be statues to not glorify but to vilify a certain person and would that be effective ?

A:

My buddy working in the fields wants to know why your protesters physically attacked pipeline workers and fired shots at them in some instances. He also wants to know why they tried to set explosive charges over the pipelines to cause leaks. Any insight?


Q:

I'm not sure I've ever seen a statue to a villain. There are monuments that memorialize events perpetrated by villains: consider for example the various Holocaust memory museums; the National Lynching Memorial (aka "The National Memorial for Peace and Justice") which will Montgomery, AL on April 26; the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana. It's important to remember and understand not only the terrible things that have happened in the histories of people around the world, but also the reasons such things have happened. This can include information about perpetrators. How can one understand slavery without learning about slaveholders?

A:

First off they are not OUR protestors, people came from over the world to support us. We didn't have any say in those individuals who came and acted aggressively, from what I understand these are merely allegations, we don't know what happened. The Tribe has never once allowed, promoted any illegal activity or aggressive violent activity. The Tribe promoted peaceful and prayerful protest, that has always been the agenda of the Tribe, to move in peace.


Q:

Do you think history writers and governments have been successful in providing a context to these statues?

A:

Does "these" refer to the monuments I've mentioned? If so, yes. The contextual materials that I've seen (Whitney, Holocaust) are quite good from a professional standpoint.


Q:

No, I mean to all statues with such history , are general masses aware enough when they go to visit these statues?

A:

The text accompanying most of these statues reflects the perspective of those who created them. Moreover, few people read the text even if better explanations have been added. The statues stand as symbols of what and who the community honors.


Q:

How do you view the effects of the monuments in the times that they were erected compared to today?

A:

Monuments to the Confederacy were an important part of the effort to unify white Southerners under the rubric of white supremacy, and indeed to unify the white population of the nation as a whole. It was part of a popular culture that portrayed the Civil War as a tragic mistake, and the Old South as a place drenched in romanticism, chivalry, and even decency. Every time you see a place called "Tara" you are reminded of the success of this enterprise.