Pastor Steve Hickey contends that the Dakota Access Pipeline is not worth trashing state-tribal relations in South Dakota. In an op-ed this week, the former Republican legislator calls on South Dakota to withdraw from the militarized law enforcement presence at the site of the Dakota Access protests in North Dakota:
As our state government and state patrol have joined the militarized forces in North Dakota to forcefully remove the DAPL water protectors from disputed treaty land, we risk a Wounded Knee III and setting state-tribal relations back four decades, or more. Please join me in asking Gov. Dennis Daugaard to call our troops home. We have to relate to Natives here when this is over [Rev. Steve Hickey, “Put Peace Before Pipeline,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.11.15].
Instead of cracking skulls near Cannonball, Rev. Hickey says we should be working on reconciliation here at home. And we can’t achieve that reconciliation if we don’t recognize the fundamental difference between our Western European materialism and Native spirituality:
Land is tied directly into Native spirituality and identity. It’s like white people don’t get it – we’ll stupidly and insensitively build the world’s biggest biker bar at the base of their sacred Bear Butte and mine uranium in their sacred hills – something I always voted no on. Why? Because the mountain and hills may not be sacred to us, but they are like a church to our Native population. Money isn’t a cultural commodity for Natives, as it is for us. Honor is their highly valued cultural commodity. Attend one of their ceremonies and you’ll sit through long rituals of honor, blankets, tributes, on and on. Yet, we only dishonor them and what they consider sacred – water and land – and so whether they are technically on legal ground to rightly challenge this pipeline, to me it appears this pipeline has simply become the flashpoint for years of justifiable resentment – like salt was in Gandhi’s resistance [Hickey, 2016.11.15].
Funny: in this conflict, the indigenous neighbors our ancestors called heathens are acting like the godly ones, while we white folks are behaving as if there is no god but money and words on earthly papers.