The many natures of water in Latin-American neo-extractivist conflicts

By Cristobal Bonelli, Denisse Roca-Servat and Mourik Bueno de Mesquita on Alternautas (Re)Searching Development: The Abya Yala Chapter


Thousands of diverse ‘water protectors’ representing different ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds throughout the American continent are standing firm against the destruction of ecological systems carried out by extractive development projects. One recent example concerning indigenous peoples has been the mobilization carried out by the Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Native American people of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline project is a $3.8 billion investment to move 500,000 barrels of domestic crude oil a day through four U.S. states. If constructed, the Dakota pipeline would pass through sacred burial grounds as well as the Missouri river – the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux population. David Archambault II, the tribal chairman, recently stated: ‘The U.S has its laws, and pipelines know how to comply with all the laws, but just because something is legal, that does not make it right. …..

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