Followers of current events are likely aware of the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has become the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years. While the largest issue at play is the protection of the of Missouri River waters from the crossing oil pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is also protesting the destruction of culturally significant sites within a mile North of their North Dakota reservation.
The protest began April 1st of this year and has not only attracted the participation of noteworthy individuals like the Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, but also thousands of Native Americans from dozens of different tribes across the United States. It has thus far been successful in shutting down several sections of the pipeline’s construction.
The members of the 2017 DC Extended Universe film Justice League – Ben Affleck (Batman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ezra Miller (The Flash) – have prepared a video (see above) as a shout-out from a fellow”gang of Earth defenders” in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The video is straight to the point and points viewers to seek more information on the Rezpect Our Water movement via Change.org, SacredStoneCamp.org, and StandingRock.org.
One statement on Rezpect’s Change.org page succinctly describes why the oil pipeline is such a concern to the tribe, whose water supply comes downstream from the planned crossing.
“The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day, across four states. Oil companies keep telling us that this is perfectly safe, but we’ve learned that that’s a lie: from 2012-2013 alone, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in the state of North Dakota.”
Concerns have also risen over claims that burial grounds have been bulldozed in an effort to pave way for the oil line. The Associated Press has reported that just yesterday U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled in favor of a partial shutdown of the oil line construction due to concerns over authority to build on private land. He is also expected to rule by Friday on the legality of the federal permits granted for the construction of the multi-state pipeline.
While some might argue that it isn’t the place of entertainers to take a side in political issues, this ignores the idea that works of art are inherently based on our varying worldviews. Superhero films are an especially pointed case, as the values these heroes uphold speaks volumes to our cultural and political positions. Regardless of your stance, it’s clear that the first step towards becoming a hero in the real world is understanding the issues people are fighting for.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, the Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.