[[decoloniz]]ing

Wow, I had no idea how close Lakeside Lab is to the Dakota Access Pipeline.


I had assumed that Iowa Lakeside Lab would have some kind of acknowledgment of native land or Indigenous peoples. I haven't found one yet, though there are several plaques around the Lab's 147 acre campus describing their conservation efforts and the history of the site. Seems like one could be added describing the Indigenous history of the land, no?


Iowa Lakeside Lab is situated on Oceti Sakowin land, also known as the Sioux nation or the Seven Council Fires.


Remember Standing Rock? The Obama-era Indigenous-led pipeline resistance camp that marked not only a historic convergence of Indigenous people of the Sioux nation (and more), but also an international scale environmental resistance movement? No one here is talking about it.


Though construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was completed in 2017, it has come under recent scrutiny from the federal government. Recently, in January 2021, a major insurance bond for the Iowa portion of DAPL was cancelled. This came shortly after a federal appeals court revoked a permit for the pipeline and required the a federal agency to conduct a lengthy review.


It strikes me as really strange that these topics are not arising in conversations at Iowa Lakeside Lab because so many folks here are specifically focused on ecological sustainability; in particular, water conservation. How come no one is testing the runoff near the DAPL site for contaminants?


In addition to threatening the Missouri River watershed and 5 major water bodies in Iowa, DAPL has destroyed soil on agricultural easements in its path. Here's one unhappy farmer describing the damage.


The DAPL site is as close as other field trips the Aquatic Ecology class here has been on, about 50 minutes from the Lab campus.


This is not far at all from where two white women, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya , interfered with Pipeline construction in 2016-17. They are both currently serving time after having confessed publically.


The silence in this small scientific community around these issues seems deafening to me -- of course, I've only been here about 4 days and there's a chance there are conversations going on that I'm not part of.




I'm considering locating and visiting a few DAPL sites in Iowa while I'm here. In 2018, I started a project documenting projected pipeline water crossings in VA. I went to the streams and rivers that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline was slated to cross and documented them, pre-pipeline, with audio and video. Though that project never came to completion, neither did the pipeline. It was cancelled in 2019 due in large part to the ongoing resistance and popular disapproval of the project.


Perhaps this project could come to completion here, documenting the pipeline in Iowa. What would it mean though, as a colonizer, to capture in audio and video images of destruction and loss? Who would that benefit?




Meanwhile, resistance to a new mega-pipeline, Line 3, is ongoing in Minnesota. There was a sit-in at the White House yesterday to demand that Biden not support construction of this dangerous pipeline.