Minute in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

and Other Indigenous Peoples in Protecting the Earth

Minute in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Other Indigenous Peoples in Protecting the Earth

Approved by Boulder Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, October 9, 2016.

Boulder Meeting of Friends supports the sovereign government and people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they and their supporters wage a nonviolent, legal and moral battle to protect their lands and water against construction of an oil pipeline that violates their treaty rights and endangers their health and their natural resources.  We join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, other Tribes and Indigenous Peoples from around the world as well as numerous organizations in seeking full tribal consultation on a government-to-government basis, as is legally required by treaty and law on any and all matters that relate to or may affect their lands, people, or traditional homelands.  Central to the legal argument is the Fort Laramie treaty of 1868 in which the Lakota and Dakota nations were given “absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of their lands, including all of what is now South Dakota west of the Missouri River.

We urge the President and the federal executive branch agencies to honor the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and the Federal Trust Responsibility to the Indigenous Peoples of our country. We also urge that immediate steps be taken to protect the safety of the people and to preserve the burials, lands, and resources of the Standing Rock Sioux nation, now and in the future.

We are grateful to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous peoples who are on the front line in protecting our earth. We will continue to show our gratitude and support in words and deeds.

Background

Indigenous Peoples are playing a key role and are even sacrificing their lives in trying to protect the earth. Although they comprise only about 5% of the world’s population, nearly 40% of the 185 or more people who died trying to protect the earth in 2015 were Indigenous.  (See Global Witness report, June 2016.)

The Dallas-based company Energy Transfer Partners originally planned to build the $4 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) so that it would cross beneath the Missouri River near Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota. When the people of that city protested that an oil spill from the pipeline could contaminate their water, the proposed pipeline route was moved south.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protested against the new pipeline route, saying that the way in which the project was planned (without their voices) violated treaty obligations. They asserted that the new route would endanger their water as well as waters further down the river. They also argued that the plan would endanger their burial sites and sacred lands in violation of the American Antiquities Act, the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and others.

In April, when construction of the pipeline began, the Tribe put out a call for support. They made lands available for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from the US and elsewhere in the world to camp. Thousands of people arrived, eventually including people from more than 280 Tribes.

Construction of the pipeline continued, and on September 2nd the Tribe filed documents and maps in federal court and requested a hearing. The next day (Saturday of Labor Day Weekend), when the “Protectors of the Water,” as they call themselves, walked peacefully toward a protest site, they discovered that workers were already bulldozing the corridor for which they had requested protection. When the Protectors objected, the company’s security service used attack dogs and tear gas against them, injuring some Protectors.

The federal circuit court judge ruled against the Standing Rock Water Protectors, but the United States Departments of the Interior, Justice, and Army quickly announced their decision to temporarily suspend pipeline construction near Lake Oahe. However, the federal injunction has NOT halted work on the pipeline, even temporarily. It has only restricted the kind of work that can be done within a very specific area near the camps. The camps are still filled with protectors. Peaceful protests are ongoing. Arrests are ongoing.  (See Standing Rock Litigation.)

A Few Suggested Actions for Friends

For updates on Standing Rock and other Native American issues, go to the Updates and Resources on Native Americans section of the FCNL website.  Read Jose Aguto’s article, “Standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”

See the Standing Rock website for suggestions for actions.  The Tribe’s “Call for Support” includes names and contact information for members of Congress and the Administration (e.g., below) and suggested language about the issues.

  • Barak Obama, President of the United States, president@whitehouse.gov
  • Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff to the President, dmcos@who.eop.gov
  • Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary, Army Corps of Engineers, darcy@us.army.mil
  • (Snail mail addresses and phone numbers are also available.)

Some of the major networks (e.g., ABC and NBC), newspapers, and other media are giving little or no coverage to Standing Rock. Contact these organizations and request accurate and timely coverage. See Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting.

Follow what is happening regarding Standing Rock on social media and send out appropriate messages.

Consider offering to prepare yourself and then to serve as a legal observer and a provider of direct action support at the Standing Rock camps. See Civil Liberties Defense Center.

Contact banks that are funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, including Wells Fargo where Boulder Meeting has its checking account. Voice protest and ask the banks to withdraw their financial support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.  See Yes Magazine.

Law suits are likely to continue for a long time. Support is needed for the Protectors, including school children at the camp. See the following official website for details about needed donations:  Sacred Stone Spirit Camp and the Standing Rock website. You can also purchase supplies directly from the Sacred Stone Camp Wish List on Amazon.

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