The difference between a peaceful protest and criminal activity is obvious to honest observers. The problem with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest near Cannon Ball, N.D., is that honesty is in short supply. Or better yet, the definitions of “honesty,” as defined by the people caught up in the protest, are not the same.
Those realities will not be solved soon because they are rooted in historical imperatives that have been in conflict for generations. The stain of the nation’s treatment of American Indians and the conditions—some self-inflicted—in which native communities find themselves in the 21st century will not be resolved at an oil pipeline protest. Indeed, they are being exacerbated.