Would we tolerate an oil pipeline shattering the Dome, the Western Wall, & the Holy Sepulchre?

Then Why Do We Tolerate a Pipeline Destroying Sacred Lands of the Sioux Nation?

Dear friends,

At this very moment, the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a century, with over 90 tribes represented, is currently underway in Cannonball, North Dakota.

Why? Because Corporate Carbon Pharaohs, with permits from the US  Army’s Corps of Engineers,  are trying to string a huge long oil pipeline across sacred lands of the Sioux Nation, to bring out more oil and unnatural gas from the fracking fields of the Bakken Shale.

The Sioux recall an ancient prophecy that they will be threatened by a gigantic “black snake.” Their health and livelihoods are threatened by the poisoning of the water that leaks from this “black snake.” Their sense of connection with the Holy Spirit of all life is threatened as the pipeline diggers already bulldoze the graves of their forebears, to make the channel for this “black snake.”

I ask you to stop reading now and -- Watch what happened as shown on this video done by the TV program “Democracy Now!” Please click here and then scroll half-way down the page.


It is not only the Sioux who suffer.

We all will suffer as the burning of these fossil fuels scorches our planet, what Pope Francis called our “common home.” Melts the ice floes and raises ocean levels to flood our cities, threatening to make Miami and Tel Aviv and Norfolk and all of Bangladesh uninhabitable. Pushing “local” tropical diseases and their carriers, like the mosquitos that carry Zika virus, into much wider regions as the Earth heats up.  Pouring monsoons of two-feet rainfall on Louisiana.

What does the United States of America owe the Native communities, the First Nations of this continent that many of them called Turtle Island long before there was a USA or even European colonies upon these shores?

If the past were to control the future, the USA would keep right on with genocide.

DOES the past control the future? That is up to us -- now.

What was the past?

For centuries, the USA meted out physical and cultural destruction.  

  • It used to be some officials distributing blankets soaked in smallpox fluid to the Natives.
  • It used to be troops firing on the tribes.
  • It used to be a President forcing the Cherokee onto the Trail of Tears  (like the death march the Babylonian Empire forced upon ancient Israelites after the Babylonian Army destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem).
  • It used to be mercilessly beating Native children if they spoke a word in their own language, in schools intended to “Americanize” them.

Now it is the Army again, and the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs, in a different mode – permits and pipelines instead of bullets and whips --  but the same contempt.

DOES the past control the future? That is up to us -- now.

For Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus– – just as for the myriad diverse forms of indigenous spirituality --  there is a deep sense that the health of human individuals, the integrity of human communities, the vitality of the interwoven diversities that make up the ecosystem of the Earth, and the celebration of the sacred Spirit are all connected.

Wounding any one of these weakens and wounds them all.

Annalisa Merelli wrote for MSNBC’s report:

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the construction of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline that would cut through four US states. Last week, the protests reached unprecedented size. Hundreds of environmental activists joined the local community of about 8,000. The BBC reports that the Native tribes and environmentalists say the pipeline would disrupt a sacred burial ground, as well as threaten water quality in the area. They say that the Army Corps of Engineers should never have granted permits for its construction. 

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, the lead story on the front page of the NY Times reported how “horrified” President Obama is by the danger of climate disaster, and how committed he is to prevent it. Yet the President has authorized new permits for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, where just six years ago  BP’s oil blow-out killed eleven of its own workers and poisoned large swathes of the life-force and livelihoods of the Gulf.

And the President is Commander-in-Chief. He could countermand any decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits to despoil the livelihoods and sacred graves and symbols of the Sioux Nation, and worsen the dangers to Earth as a whole.

What do we owe this man?

So I ask you -- all of you who are readers or members of The Shalom Center -- to take 5 minutes out of your busy day, and call the White House. At 1202-456-1111 you can leave a message on the public-comment line; at 

<https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact>  you can send an  Email letter.  You might very briefly say something like this, below my signature, in these words or your own:

Shalom, salaam, walakota, peace, Earth! --  Arthur

“Mr. President: My name is  [xxxx xxxx ]; I’m from [city and state], and my strong [religious, or ethical, or spiritual] belief is this:

“For the sake of the health of Americans, both Natives and all those whose forebears come from many other lands; for the sake of the integrity of our many ecosystems;  for the sake of the Earth, our common home; and for the sake of the sacred Spirit that breathes us all ---  I urge you to take two life-giving actions that are sorely needed: Order the Army Corps of Engineers to cancel its permits for the oil pipeline that is already despoiling the lands, scorning the spiritual traditions, and ruining the future of the Sioux Nation in the Dakotas; and withdraw all permits for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I look foward to hearing back from your staff at my phone number ---   xxx-xxx-xxxx.

“Shalom, walakota, peace!  -- [Your name]”




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