News in the United States for most of the last several months has largely centered on the 2016 Presidential election campaign (which will conclude in early November). Several other stories have garnered national attention over that time as well; one of the more prominent ones being what has become known as the “Standing Rock Protest”. The latter concerns members of the Native American Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which is currently engaged in a standoff over plans to build an oil pipeline adjacent to their land.
The tensions around this controversy has ignited activists and drawn divided response from politicians thus far. The cast of the upcoming Justice League movie previously came out in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – and now, the director and star of another upcoming superhero movie, namely Thor: Ragnarok, have also spoken out in solidarity with the Standing Rock protesters.
Posted to Thor actor Chris Hemsworth’s Instagram, the initial support came in the form of an on-set photo wherein Hemsworth and Ragnarok director Taika Waititi are seen holding up a sign reading “We Stand With Standing Rock” along with hashtags associated with support of the movement. In accompanying text (see below), Hemsworth also took the opportunity to apologize for an incident at a New Years Eve party, where he wore traditional First Nations dress as a costume.
Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water. #nodapl #waterislife #mniwiconi @taikawaititi I would also like to take this opportunity to raise something that has been bothering me for sometime. Last New Year's Eve I was at a "Lone Ranger" themed party where some of us, myself included, wore the traditional dress of First Nations people. I was stupidly unaware of the offence this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue. I sincerely and unreservedly apologise to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action. I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.
This protest is against the construction of the “Dakota Access Pipeline” currently underway in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux’s chief objection has been to plans for the pipeline (which is being constructed to carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale to Illinois) to run underneath the Missouri River: the primary source of drinking water for the tribe’s nearby reservation. The latter fear their drinking water could be contaminated by the presence of an oil pipeline. The tribe further claims that the pipeline will also disrupt a sacred burial site. While the pipeline is not being built on land under their direct ownership, the Standing Rock Sioux believe that Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners did not adequately engage with them as required under federal law.
The Standing Rock protest has been supported by multiple celebrities – notably, Divergent star Shailene Woodley was arrested while participating in the protest – backing both the Standing Rock Sioux’s specific cause and environmental groups who object to the continued mining of fossil fuels and other climate change contributing industrial undertakings. President Barack Obama issued an order blocking the project in September, but the order was reversed by a federal court leading to the current showdown. North Dakota’s Republican Governor, Jack Dalrymple, has deployed armed police and National Guard troops to the site, against whom tribal leaders have leveled multiple accusations of rubber bullets and other harsh tactics being utilized.
Source: Chris Hemsworth