The running gag in Washington DC is if you want President Obama to care about an issue, disguise it as gay, transgender or refugee-related.
That’s the dilemma facing Native Americans at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, where a fierce standoff continues over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Police turned water cannons on Native Americans in freezing temperatures as they protest an oil pipeline on their sacred land.
“Nobody’s talking about this,” Chelsea Handler told CNN political analyst Van Jones in a clip from her Netflix talk show.
“And I feel like this is a major issue in our country and a lot of people don’t really understand what’s going on.”
Jones, whose rebellious streak got him fired as Obama’s “green jobs czar”, explained “They were going to put the pipeline through a white town, and the white people said, ‘Hell no!'”
He added: “And it turns out that the land that they’re putting it on is some of the most sacred land for Native Americans in the world.
“To me, this is Selma, this is Birmingham, this is as big a civil rights movement and as big a civil rights moment as you’re ever going to see,” Jones added.
Jones urged Americans to send a message to President Obama, who has until January to take action.
“President Obama is still the president of the United States right now,” Jones said. “And I think he should tell the Army Corps of Engineers to cancel this whole project. If Trump wants to do it, we’ll deal with that later, but President Obama should stand up and say this has gone far enough and needs to stop and needs to stop right now.”