Yesterday, according to CNN, 83 people were arrested at a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. This is part of the ongoing crisis in North Dakota between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the company building the pipeline, Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC. The entire situation could have been avoided if people just simply communicated.
The first thing Dakota Access, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, should have done is contact the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe when planning the pipeline. The company should have met with the tribe's leadership, elders and communicators to come up with a mutually-agreed-upon path for the pipeline. According to the Dakota Access Fact Site, Dakota Access would discuss easement with any landowners involved in the construction of the pipeline and offer just compensation. It seems the company forwent this policy in its dealings with the Standing Rock Tribe. Granted we are not talking about a single landowner but a Native American tribe, I think it would have served the company's best interest to talk to the tribe in the planning stages. If nothing would have been reached, I'm sure there would have been better alternatives.
In addition, environmental policies should have been discussed since it is now a fear that the pipeline could cause extreme damage to the environment, especially to water supplies. Dakota Access should not have broken ground until there were plans for any and every foreseeable environmental issue.
I feel like a reactive communications strategy shouldn't be necessary in this situation, considering all the terrible actions Dakota Access has taken against the Standing Rock Tribe. Dakota Access shouldn't have even been allowed on any land that the Standing Rock Tribe holds sacred.
Now, the damage has been done. I would say the best way for Dakota Access to have reacted to protests would have been not using any form of violence and starting negotiations with the tribe's leadership. Authorities said the protests were more like riots, but in my opinion, Dakota Access is destroying sacred lands. These people have every right to be angry.
The violence and destruction of sacred sites has hurt Dakota Access' brand and I'm not sure if there is any coming back.