DAPL ‘Warriors’ speak on campus


Thadd Simpson

WSC student Christina Coffman gives input about the Dakota Access Pipeling at a discussion about the controversial pipeline which students, faculty and the Wayne community were invited to by the Native American Student Alliance last Wednesday.

Anna Cole, Staff Writer

Wayne State students gathered in the Frey Conference Suite last Wednesday to discuss issues surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
Native American Student Alliance (NASA) held the event to help students gain a better understanding of this controversial issue and the protest surrounding it.
The pipeline will pump oil down from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a refinery in Illinois, where it will be sold on international markets. The pipeline will also cross major waterways in the Midwest.
Mahmud Fitil, an active opponent of the DAPL, said that a lot of the controversy comes from oil companies asking residents to suffer the risk of another oil pipeline going through their lands when the oil will not be sold in America. He also mentioned the environmental concerns of water pollution, reliance on fossil fuels and the sovereignty of Native American tribes.
“A pipeline is just a piece of steel. It is not good or bad, but what we are doing with it is risking the safety of people’s drinking water,” Fitil said.
Critics of the pipeline say that it is not needed because the Bakken oil fields are almost empty and the United Statesare in an age when renewable energy is available and affordable.
“This is not an individual issue,” Michelle Lamere, a member of the Winnebago tribe and activist said. “It’s a human issue.”
Lamere believes the reason for the pipeline is centered on making a handful of billionaires richer.
“They can’t monopolize sunshine and wind,” Lamere said. “That’s why they want don’t renewable energy.”
The discussion lasted two hours, and groups discussed everything from the plight of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, environmental concerns and whether there is a right way to protest.
“It’s not some radical thing these Native Americans are doing. It’s a time-honored tradition,” Fitil said. “It demonstrates what some would say is desperation. I would say power.”
WSC student Tyler Housh added, “If someone says that your protest is meaningless, that in itself gives it meaning.”
At the end of the discussion, Fitil and Lamere shared some words with the group about why this issue means so much to them.
“It is those who are not yet born who will suffer the consequence if we fail,” Lamere said. “No more Facebook warriors, no more Twitter warriors, go out and be warriors.”