So here’s the situation: in the middle of a pandemic, construction workers will move into isolated rural communities with already strained hospital resources. The “man camps” where many such workers in the industry live are associated with violence against women and other crimes, even in the best of times. Now, with the pandemic, many of the Native communities that live along the pipeline route fear for the worst. “This causes eerie memories for us with the infected smallpox blankets that were distributed to tribes intentionally,” Faith Spotted Eagle, a leader of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said. (The coronavirus is already wreaking havoc on isolated reservations in other parts of the country, and the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service is struggling to meet the crisis.)
…I don’t know if corporations can be evil—I don’t think so, even if the Supreme Court insists on describing them as people. But this is capitalism at its most naked, willing to endanger people in the covid-19 crisis and to heat the earth in the climate crisis, all in search of a bit more profit. In a world running right now on bravery and love, it’s hard to imagine anything much darker.