Thousands of Native Americans have gathered to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a new 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect to the already expanding Bakken Pipeline. Critics claim the development will poison the local water supply and cause other catastrophic environmental harms. The protest is among the largest Native American protests in this country’s history and has attracted the support of popular political figures like former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as less-popular political figures like soon-to-be-former presidential candidate Jill Stein. To the majority of the Nation, however, and the press that covers it, the protest has inspired what can only be described as a sincere lack of fucks.
The Plantain spoke with local 31-year-old GameStop employee Javier Santos to get his take on the important issue. “I guess it’s a big deal, right?” said Mr. Santos as he absentmindedly scrolled through his Newsfeed. “Oh wow, my friend Amanda got engaged,” he said to himself before saying “oh, sorry. Yeah, it’s awful what’s happening in…North Carolina? Or Montana? North Montana? It must suck to not have clean water. It’s like Flint all over again. We fixed that right?”
When asked how he felt about President Obama’s decision to block the pipeline, Mr. Santos sighed in perplexion. “Look, I don’t know anything about the pipeline. I thought when you said you wanted to ask me a question about politics you wanted to ask me about Trump or Clinton’s emails? Can’t we just talk about Trump? I have opinions on that!”
According to Hunter Ogden-Fairweather, a member of the Rock Sioux Tribe, Mr. Santos’ unfamiliarity with the pipeline issue is unsurprising given the lack of news coverage the protest has attracted. “CNN and FOX are twenty four hour news networks! They could have give us at least a few minutes of that time before going back to talking about Donald Trump all goddamn day,” said Mr. Ogden-Fairweather before being interrupted by passing protester and Florida Statue University sophomore Lauren Horowitz, who insisted on joining the conversation.
“I just have to say that the way Donald Trump has attacked Hillary Clinton is truly deplorable and definitely sexist”, said the 20-year-old religious studied major while wearing a traditional Native American headdress purchased at Urban Outfitters in anticipation of her trip. When asked why she chose to join the protest against the Pipeline, Ms. Horowtiz replied that she loves protests and wanted to “show solidarity for her Indian brothers and sisters, or whatever.” It was at this point that Mr. Ogden-Fairweather muttered “fucking sorority girls” and walked back to his encampment, leaving this reporter alone with Ms. Horowitz for several minutes as she unsolicitedly told me her opinions on sustainable farming, the patriarchy, and the last Dave Matthews show she attended. “I literally died when he played Crush. Literally died.”
The Plantain reached out to CNN and asked their rationale for not covering the protest. A representative of the network claimed that there had just not been any time in their 24-hour schedule thus far, although he did acknowledge that the network briefly considered providing information about the protest in their news tickler but chose not to in order to accommodate a countdown clock to the first Presidential debate. “It’s only 168 hours away, you know, we need to keep our viewers informed about the time.” The CNN representative did say, however, that they would cover the protest if ISIS gets involved somehow, noting that “people love ISIS news.”
Despite the lack of response, action, or even acknowledgement from the rest of the nation, the Obama administration has halted construction on the pipeline. The Plantain attempted to create an opinion poll to gauge reader reaction on this development, but as of yet no one has responded.
By Daniel Jimenez of Villain Theater