“ I was given this world, I didn’t make it”. Twenty years ago, one of my heroes took his last breath. Tupac Amaru Shakur told a generation that he “cared” about them . The problem with Americans is that they don’t care. They don’t care about racism, religious tolerance, environmental protection , or poverty.Tupac Amaru Shakur was named after the last Inca Monarch, Tupac Amaru. Like the original Tupac Amaru, Tupac Shakur was the last ruler from his royal family, the Black Panther Party. Tupac’s mom, Afeni Shakur, was falsely imprisoned for murder and conspiracy to bomb federal buildings. Tupac’s Step-dad, Mutulu, is in prison for conspiracy to aid bank appropriation. Tupac Amaru died fighting off the Spanish conquistadors. Tupac Shakur died from gang violence. However that gang violence was the symptom of government oppression he was fighting his whole life. Tupac was aware of the FBI’s program to monitor, destroy and discredit Black activists. He spoke about it heavily in his music. Shakur rapped about civil rights, poverty, education, and the political elite. All of these topics are still relevant today. His greatest efforts went towards curbing gang violence, highlighting the hypocrisy of the war on drugs and trying to inspire the disenfranchised.
The Standing Rock Sioux and other Native Americans have been fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline for months. Like Tupac, The Sioux Nation cares about the disenfranchised, and powerless. The Sioux oppose the pipeline because it invades their territory, threatens drinking water, encroaches on sacred burial lands and threatens the Missouri river; which they consider sacred. As important as these issues are, Native Americans recognize the Dakota Access Pipeline issue is bigger than them. The Dakota Access Pipeline is about civil rights and freedom of speech. Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, was arrested for filming security officers unleashing dogs and macing Native American activists. These uncouth actions are reminiscent of the treatment Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King and the Black Panthers received in the 60’s. Native Americans are fighting the corporate oligarchy of America, the same people who’ve allowed Monsanto to control our food supply. Indigenous people from as far away as Hawaii, are waging a war against the same political elite who allowed Wall Street to rob our economy. These are the same people who millennials, Trump supporters, and Bernie Sanders supporters have been trying to vote out of office. Americans across the nation were united in their opposition to the KeyStone XL Pipeline, but theyre conveniently ignorant concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Like Tupac Shakur, Native Americans have been under government surveillance their whole lives. Theyre forced to live on reservations, which are the same as government housing for Black Americans. Native Reservations are on the worst land in the country. Native Americans have been fighting for civil and territorial rights since the pilgrims invaded their country. Despite their genocidal treatment, Native Americans have displayed the most compassion towards the disenfranchised in recent history. Navajo code talkers helped liberate the Jewish people, during World War Two. The Wampanoag Nation fed the starving pilgrims. The Roanoke Tribes fed the first American colony in Virginia. Native Americans are over represented in the American armed forces. Since they are the true Americans in this country, perhaps the rest of this nation should listen to them. After all, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline is in the best interest of millions of “Americans”.