Defenders of the Dakota Access pipeline, including North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, have characterized pipeline protesters as “out-of-state agitators” causing trouble in this otherwise peaceful state.
Indeed, people from around the world have come to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to help mobilize against the nearly finished pipeline, which the tribe considers a threat to historical sites and drinking water.
The fact that so many outsiders have joined the protest demonstrates wide-ranging support for the cause. It’s an impressive feat. But pipeline defenders have turned “out-of-state” into a slur.
Curiously, the same standard doesn’t apply to the pipeline itself. Though the name “Dakota Access” suggests the pipeline has North Dakota roots, it doesn’t. The company building it, Energy Transfer Partners, is from Dallas, Tex.
So when an out-of-state company comes into North Dakota and agitates a Native American tribe, that’s okay. But when out-of-state human beings come into North Dakota and agitate a pipeline, that’s nefarious.