From #NoDAPL to Message from Pandora — How Social Media Help Protect Indigenous People’s Right

Starting from the Age of Discovery to the Industrial Revolution, and to the establishment of the United States, Indigenous People’s right has been challenged and even violated by incoming colonists. A typical example is the decline of the Native American tribes. When the explorers from Europe first encountered the North America Continent, Native Americans’ rights and lives are threatened by those incoming “guests.” Countless Native Americans were killed during the American Indian Wars, and their lands were seized.

The American Indian War — Photo from Wikipedia

Although Native Americans, as well as other Indigenous communities, are well protected by governments, there are still instances where Indigenous People’s rights are challenged now and then.

For example, during lecture presentation, the #noDAPL hashtag movement was introduced. The #NoDAPL movement is a social media campaign which is against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Massive protests and social media campaigns took place in the nation, which draws people’s attention that the construction will be destroying the environment of the Native American land. I was so surprised that social media has taken such an important role in spreading the words and that people around the globe were paying close attention to the issue.

People around the world are “checking in” Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Facebook to stand against the construction. Clearly, if everyone were indifferent to the issue, then the Indian Reservation would be Irreparably damaged. Social media played a crucial role in the campaign and successfully addressed the issue and spread out the words of opposition.

Also, a short clip from AmazonWatch was played in lecture. The video clip was to address the issue that oil industries in the Amazon Forests are creating a negative effect both on the environment and the native citizen’s lives.

Oil industries exploit the resources in the Amazon forests which greatly affect the daily life of the indigenous people. This reminds me of James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar. If we keep ignoring the negative effects we create on indigenous people’s territories, the victim eventually will also be us. To my relief, James Cameron also supports this idea and embedded it into his movie and also into the video clip “A Message from Pandora.” The clip is a special feature produced by James Cameron about the battle to stop the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu, one of the great tributaries of the Amazon River. The message is spreading over on social media platforms and making everyone aware of the issue.

Clearly, without the presence, the protection of Indigenous People’s right wouldn’t be so successful. The more people are exposed to the information on social media, the more they care about it. And I really wish those native communities around the globe a better future, with the support of warm-hearted people all over the world.