Angie: “My name is Angie McGinnis I’m an organic vegetable farmer. My farm is located in Mandan North Dakota and I’m originally from Bismarck North Dakota.”
Brian: “My name is Brian McGinnis. I’m also an organic vegetable farmer south of Mandan and North Dakota. Angie and I are married and have three kids. The Standing Rock protest camps were about 40 miles away from our farm, as the crow flies 20 miles.”
“Living so close to the camps, it really upset me watching what happened. I think that the oil pipeline being sited the way it was, was as an act of environmental racism against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It seems that the pipeline was permitted through some sort of loophole, and the result was that the company was able to completely bypass steps that one would assume are a part of the permitting process.
It also seemed that our local law enforcement, especially the Morton county sheriff was used to defend the oil pipeline being put through.”
“My interest in what was going on at the protest camp was definitely based mostly in my concerns about environmental racism and really less so about the actual environmental issues, though I think that environmental issues are also really important. For me it was more about how to pipeline was moved from North of Bismarck to right next to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”
“One of the things that I saw unfold during the protest was a shift in the protest message. The original message of protest seemed to be all about tribal sovereignty and protecting the water. But at a certain point the message was taken over by outside interests and the protest became a much larger environmental protest about oil development in general. I think having a discussion about oil development in general is a good thing, especially in North Dakota, but I think the issues revolving around environmental racism, tribal sovereignty, and protecting the water got lost at a certain point due to the protest shifting to an anti-oil protest.”
“I think that it’s really troubling and startling to see how our state, our police force, our legal system, and our politicians are seemingly looking out for the best interests of oil development and no longer looking out for the interests of all the citizens of North Dakota. I am NOT taking the stance that we shouldn’t develop oil; I understand the things that oil has done for our economy, but I do think that we need to be completely cognizant of protecting the land of North Dakota for our future. We also need to be protecting the rights of the North Dakota citizens while at the same time looking into the future and building a healthy North Dakota community and not just selling our state out for short-term financial gains.”
-Brian and Angie McGinness