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Readers' View: Posts on Dakota Access ignored cultural considerations

We are writing to respond to the March 20 post, “Read It: Minnesota Sheriffs Rip Governor Mark Dayton in Letter for Playing Politics Over #NoDAPL Protests,” and the March 23 post, “Port: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton calls criticism over #NoDAPL protests response “inaccurate and offensive,” by Rob Port.

In the midst of many blatant falsities, the post neglected to acknowledge the rights of protestors and the cultural significance of what was being protested. This post failed to mention the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, or even to use the words “Native American.” Instead, it called protestors “political extremists who embraced, as a tactic, violence and unlawful activity to advance their agenda.” It’s clear the protests at Standing Rock were largely peaceful, as there were many first-hand witnesses to document the camps. This post idealized the police force used without taking into consideration the rights of protestors to peacefully organize and occupy.

Along with threatening the quality of water, we believe the Dakota Access pipeline was built through the Standing Rock Sioux’s sacred land and that it destroyed burial sites. Police forces had to deal with the situation for a few short months. Hundreds of Native Americans will be impacted by the Dakota Access pipeline for the rest of their lives.

The March 20 and March 23 posts minimized the events at Standing Rock and demonized the protesters without taking into consideration the role culture plays.

Rosie Allen and Lexi Meyer