Clay Jenkinson has a deep love for North Dakota, his home state. An award winning writer and a distinguished humanities scholar at Bismarck State College, he may be best known for portraying Thomas Jefferson in The Jefferson Hour. That’s why his thoughts on the recent protests gave me some pause. It’s not a a clear-cut situation, with mountains of historical context that can’t be ignored, including past broken treaties, corruption, and continued racism that’s still prevalent across our great state (and elsewhere). And while Jenkinson’s final conclusions about the pipeline don’t say that we shouldn’t build the pipeline, it does indeed make us think twice about how we handle the situation.
Some think “the Indian Wars” ended at Wounded Knee on the last day of December 1890, but that is not so. There has merely been a Clauswitzean morphing from Gatling Guns to bureaucratic findings or bribes or corruption in the BIA or high pressure industrial emplacements, like the Dakota Access Pipeline.
This is a must read for anyone who is involved in the Dakota Access pipeline discussion, even if it’s just over meat and potatoes after work. It may not change your mind, which is okay, but it may help deepen our understanding for why, as Jenkinson notes in his Facebook post, that “We need to keep this moment peaceful. That is going to require extraordinary forbearance on all sides. This must be ratcheted down not up.”