"The Guardian" reported that the Dakota Access pipeline at first went through mostly white Bismarck, North Dakota. Due to popular opposition it was rerouted through Indian lands. It's no coincidence. Legal racism against indigenous peoples is still a part of American law. There is a legal basis for opposition to the pipeline. American conservatives are opposed to the #Government's use of eminent domain - the taking of private property for a public use. Proponents of constitutional rights assert that the pipeline does not constitute a public use.
A powerful private company is using the government to condemn private property for the private use of an oil pipeline. White North Dakotans were successful in preventing the pipeline passing through Bismarck. Indigenous peoples do not enjoy this constitutional protection.
The Discovery Doctrine and US legal racism
The Fifth Amendment takings clause says that private property shall not be taken without just compensation. In the infamous US Supreme Court case of Johnson v. McIntosh, Chief Justice John Marshall asserted that Indians do not have legal title to their land. Indians only have a legal right of occupancy which the US Congress can extinguish by purchase or through a just war. Throughout US history anyone wishing to take Indian lands could claim that a war was justified. Anyone interested in the origin of just war doctrine as a pretext for US intervention and territorial invasion should start here. Because of this legal fiction, Indians are not entitled to just compensation when our lands are taken. This legal racism allows powerful private interests to easily take indigenous lands and destroy the #Environment for industrial profit.
The majority of mining operations for coal, gold, uranium, aluminum, etc. occur in indigenous territories. The majority of fossil fuel extraction occurs in indigenous territories. In addition, the industrial waste is usually dumped in indigenous territories. The legal racism that allows this environmental destruction did not begin with the United States, but the US still works to perfect it.
International law and legal racism
In the #Book "The New Imperial Order: Indigenous Responses to Globalization" indigenous Maori scholar Makere Stewart-Harawira examines the development of international law originating from the Western European Law of Nations. It is a system designed to disadvantage indigenous nations in favor of Western European Westphalian sovereign states. John Locke's reduction of property into a fungible commodity which can be legally stolen if its occupants are not engaging in its highest use is examined. Locke's concept of highest use generally meant agricultural production, but in reality it has always meant the movement of transnational capital.
In Locke's day, the King's Cotton was the highest use because it was the cash crop.
Today, fossil fuel production generates more capital. Lockean philosophy says the movement of transnational capital trumps the environment. The dominance of the racist, Euro-centric, and destructive Lockean worldview of land only as a fungible commodity leaves no room for the indigenous view that we are caretakers of the land and environment for future generations.
Also examined is the Hobbesian worldview regarding the need for a universal world sovereign. The two primary contenders have been Great Britain and the US. After the Second World War US pretensions toward decolonization had to do with eradicating the British Empire so the US could attain global preeminence. It worked. The US enjoys largely hegemonic world control. US hypocrisy on the question of decolonization is embodied in its refusal to acknowledge of the inherent legal right of self-determination of internally colonized indigenous nations within its claimed territorial boundaries. The best known present day example of this injustice is the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline through the treaty territory of the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux Nation).