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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

It’s Native American Heritage Month: Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

Dakota Access Pipeline Native American protest site, on Highway 1806 near Cannonball, North Dakota.

Dakota Access Pipeline Native American protest site, on Highway 1806 near Cannonball, North Dakota, August 15th, 2016. (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

It is Native American Heritage Month.

What does this mean? How do we commemorate? I’ve seen signs in schools announcing this yearly celebration, and I’ve perused displays in libraries. I’ve noted local museums’ native-themed exhibits. Classrooms may spend time learning about the history of Native Americans. Young students may take part in creating a native-themed craft; older students may be tasked with researching an eminent Native American or the history of a Native American tribe. Adults may seek out drum circles, powwows, native chanting experiences, and herbal medicine discussions.

This year, perhaps above all else, we can honor Native American Heritage Month by learning about and discussing the current protests at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

The tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, at the center of this controversy, came together at Standing Rock to oppose the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would cut across the land of the Standing Rock Sioux and possibly threaten their water supply. Other Native American tribes and many of non-native descent joined in the protests. Large-scale demonstrations began a few months ago, in August, when activists blocked the pipeline’s construction sites at Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The protests have grown and have become increasingly violent. But the opposition remains strong.  In a September press release, Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault II stated that the pipeline will “destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts.”

The Dakota Access pipeline, approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in July, would tap into the Bakken Formation, an oil deposit that spans five U.S. states and into Canada. It could provide more than 7 billion barrels of oil to the United States, reducing the country’s reliance on foreign oil. Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based natural gas and propane company, claims that the pipeline would help the states that are impacted, providing up to 12,000 construction jobs and bringing more than $150 million in revenue.

As Americans, it is important that we acknowledge the events and people at Standing Rock. As researchers, teachers, and students, it is also important that we explore both sides of the issue. SIRS Knowledge Source and its Leading Issues feature, which includes such topics as Keystone Pipeline and Indigenous Peoples, explores the controversy.

For further research…

Check out this timeline of events prior to and since the first physical collision of interests in August.

Get an overview of the viewpoints of proponents and opponents.

Consider the implications of those who are funding the pipeline.

Read about the history the land of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Visit SIRS Knowledge Source’s and SIRS Discoverer’s Native American Heritage Month’s Spotlight features.

Welcome to Congress, Bella Abzug!

Bella Abzug Research Topic

Bella Abzug Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

On this date in 1970, Bella Abzug was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. And that was just one of many accomplishments of this icon of the Women’s Movement. Here are some of the highlights of her career.

First things first: The hats. Bella was nearly always seen wearing a hat: pic, pic, pic. This began when she was a young lawyer, as she wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t be mistaken for a secretary. It became her trademark.

Career as a lawyer: She was a successful lawyer at a time when there weren’t many women in the profession, and during her time in practice she defended people targeted during the McCarthyism era and also took on civil rights cases, most notably that of Willie McGee, a black man facing execution for the alleged rape of a white woman.

Activism: Bella was a vigorous activist for many causes, including women’s rights (she pushed for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment),  and peace (she was a co-founder of Women Strike for Peace and protested against the Vietnam War).

House of Representatives: Running on the campaign slogan “This woman’s place is in the house–the House of Representatives,” in 1970 Abzug won a seat in Congress (the first Jewish woman to do so), where she quickly became known for her outspokenness in support of her beliefs. On her first day she put forth a resolution to withdraw American soldiers from the Vietnam War and later was the first politician to call for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment. Among other activities, she broke new ground by introducing gay-rights legislation and called for an investigation of feared F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover.

After Congress: After choosing not to run for a fourth term in 1976, Abzug made an unsuccessful run for Senate, then later also lost in bids for New York City mayor and in two efforts to get back to Congress. Despite her electoral failures, she remained very active politically, and continued her longtime crusade to bring awareness to women’s issues.

Bella Abzug fought breast cancer and heart disease and died in 1998, but “Battling Bella” will always be remembered for her trailblazing career and her unwavering fight to raise the status of American women.

Related Research Topics:

Women’s Rights

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Women’s History

House of Representatives