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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: DAPL: Attacking the Indians Again | 10-08-2016
Santa Clarita CA
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S.C.V. History
October 28
1978 - "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park," filmed at Magic Mountain, premieres as NBC Movie of the Week [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Saturday, Oct 8, 2016

darrylmanzer0215I’ve been reading a lot about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) of late. I have a huge interest in that project. You see, my father once lived on or near the Rosebud Reservation when my grandmother taught school there. Because of that, I know that many of the attitudes he had came from that time.

His stepfather, Henry Havens, was of the Lakota Nation. I met “Grandpa Havens” in 1964 in Rapid City, S.D. He was a tall man, and even though he was in his 70s, he picked me up as he hugged me for the first time. It was a family complete.

My father’s name was Alton, but Grandpa Havens always called my dad “Steve.” He didn’t like the name Alton. Above all, he was a man who was kind and brave. He had taught my father how to be a dad. For that, I’m so very honored to call him “Grandpa Havens.”

I know when he died, but I don’t know where he is buried. I pray it isn’t on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. I don’t want him to be displaced by a pipeline. (Actually I think he was laid to rest near Rapid City.) I can feel the pain of not knowing, but it hurts just as much that some stupid pipeline contractors have dug up a cemetery sacred to the First Nation people. Once again, a treaty has been broken in the name of progress.

Imagine if oil were found deep under the old Newhall Refinery between Sierra Highway and the 14 Freeway. Imagine they decided to lay a pipeline from there to a terminal for oil tankers near Ventura. Now imagine they routed the pipeline through Eternal Valley Cemetery, under William S. Hart Park, on to Lyons Avenue and through Stevenson Ranch. From there it would follow the Santa Clara River to the sea.

I just can’t figure out how the folks of the DAPL could have selected a more disruptive route, much like the one I’ve just described. DAPL is through sacred lands. It rips through farms and rivers. Nobody asked them, so the First Nation people in the path of the pipeline are once again an obstacle to progress, according to the government – and have been ever since Europeans first arrived in North America.

On Sept. 3, one day after a federal judge denied a temporary injunction, Dakota Access Pipeline construction workers graded burial grounds and other sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

On Sept. 3, one day after a federal judge denied a temporary injunction, Dakota Access Pipeline construction workers graded burial grounds and other sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Photo: Native News Online

Just so all y’all know, there was-is a pipeline from Newhall to Mentryville. It runs from the Pioneer Oil Refinery on Pine Street through Heritage Junction and Hart Park, over the hill roughly under Market Street, on through to Lyons Avenue and out to Pico Canyon. You can see it when you visit Heritage Junction. A short portion is above ground just south of the relocated Saugus Train Station. You can see a lot of it the next time you hike up Pico in Mentryville. It is that rusted old pipe on the south side of the road.

There was also a pipeline that ran from Pico Canyon over the ridge just north of the Felton School. That pipeline was laid in the late 1800s because the Southern Pacific Railroad was charging too much to ship the oil to Ventura in tank cars. The pipeline was used for water instead, since the railroad figured out it wouldn’t get any oil shipping business from the good folks at California Star Oil Co. Old Alex Mentry was pretty keen on how to run an oil company.

There are pipelines all over the Santa Clarita Valley for crude oil, natural gas, water, sewers and electrical cables. For the most, part they don’t seem to cause many problems. Pipeline engineering is just that good. The 1971 and 1994 earthquakes in the San Fernando Valley didn’t do much damage to those pipes, considering how many there are. But the potential is there.

For those of you who have been on Interstate 40 heading east from Needles, Calif., toward Kingman, Ariz., you can see a large pipeline bridging the Colorado River on suspension cables. It is a really impressive piece of construction. It is a pipe filled with natural gas for Arizona and beyond. No problems with the pipe – yet.

I’m pretty sure the Mohave people are well paid for the pipes that cross the river on the property they own. The native people in North Dakota aren’t paid at all. The Army Corps of Engineers and DAPL are simply taking the river.

One hundred forty years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Army is attacking the Indians again. This time it isn’t with guns. This time it is with bulldozers and graders. This time it is with a legal system that won’t honor treaties.

This time they may have picked on the wrong people.

This time they picked a fight with all of us who believe an agreement is to be honored. We believe our forefathers should be honored, too. We are a nation of laws. It is time we followed those laws.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley for a spell. Now he hangs his cowboy hat in Arizona. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].


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  1. Nadiya Littlewarrior says:

    They have guns and armed vehicles there now….. They are racist Trump lovers who have no intelect or compassion what so ever.
    Nor do they care about our Mother the earth! Water is Life and the oil and gas industry just wants to poison all of it.

  2. Lee Jenkinson says:

    It’s the Golden rule; them that has the gold, rules.

  3. Catlan Rich says:

    Darryl, thank you for bringing attention to this while so many others look away.

  4. Susie Evans says:

    That is awful! Everything for the almighty dollar nothing for the little guy who is displaced and pooped on in the process!

  5. Mike Norman says:

    I agree with Darryl. I have Native American heritage on both sides of my family. It is sad that the federal government is backing the land grabbers as usual.

  6. Pat Willett says:

    I also have Native American heritage, and my grandmother taught the Sioux on the Rosebud reservations. And here I thought the injustices to the Native Americans were mostly in the past! What a joke that some tribes have discovered oil on the worthless land to which they were exiled by the U.S. Government. What do you want to bet someone is claiming all the profits there, too!

  7. jim says:

    Hey Darryl,

    It’s awfully hard to separate truth from fiction when the only source is news media. One thing I do know is that the history of the United States Government’s treatment of Native American peoples is long and filled with stories of mistreatment, shady dealings, and outright fraud.

    re Pat Willet’s post: Oil is only one of the commodities that have been in the leftover lands “granted” to American Native peoples throughout history. Gold in the Dakotas, coal and Uranium in the Southwest, and now even water rights throughout the West have become contentious issues. And generally they have provided vast profits to corporations that receive contracts from the US Gov’t – and sometimes local Native American governments. Rarely have the Native American peoples received fair value for what they’ve given up.

    One quick place to look for an example: search for “Black Mesa Coal controversy” online.

  8. TED WELFELT says:


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