DAPL: Another Notch in the American Belt of Environmental Racism
The first Americans – the Indians – are the most deprived and most isolated minority group in our nation. On virtually every scale of measurement – employment, income, education, health – the condition of the Indian people ranks at the bottom. This condition is the heritage of centuries of injustice. From the time of their first contact with European settlers, the American Indians have been oppressed and brutalized, deprived of their ancestral lands, and denied the opportunity to control their own destiny. ~ President Nixon, in a statement to Congress, 1970
My administration is determined to partner with tribes, and its not something that just happens once in a while. It takes place every day, on just about every issue that touches your lives. And that's what real nation-to-nation partnerships look like. ~ President Barack Obama, June 13, 2014
The Significance of Sacred Sites
The Dakota Access Pipeline Follows a Long History of Environmental Racism
The Great Sioux Reservation comprised all of present-day South Dakota west of the Missouri River, including the sacred Black Hills and the life-giving Missouri River. Under article 11 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, the Great Sioux Nation retained off-reservation hunting rights to a much larger area, south to the Republican and Platte Rivers, and east to the Big Horn Mountains. Under article 12, no cession of land would be valid unless approved by three-fourths of the adult males. Nevertheless, the Congress unilaterally passed the Act of February 28, 1877 (19 stat. 254), removing the Sacred Black Hills from the Great Sioux Reservation. The United States never obtained the consent of three-fourths of the Sioux, as required in article 12 of the 1868 Treaty. The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that "A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found in our history." United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371, 388 (1980).
Standing Rock's Protest of DAPL
The water protectors have invoked their rights under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which grants the Sioux Nation sovereignty over the territory. A Stein/Baraka administration would honor the Sioux claims under this treaty, as well as the right to free, informed, and prior consent under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We call for an immediate halt to the construction of the pipeline and all attempts on the part of the police to remove the water protectors.
We express our outrage and shame at the silence of the Obama administration and the other presidential candidates in regards to this human rights crisis. We stand with the 14-year-old girl who traveled to the Clinton campaign headquarters from Standing Rock today to deliver a letter appealing to Hillary Clinton for support. She was turned away at the door and the letter was not even accepted for review.
While it is true that a teenager was unable to meet with Clinton or her representatives, she was able to leave her letter, and later Clinton advisor Charlie Galbraith gave this official statement in response:
We received a letter today from representatives of the tribes protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. From the beginning of this campaign, Secretary Clinton has been clear that she thinks all voices should be heard and all views considered in federal infrastructure projects. Now, all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota, and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest. As that happens, it's important that on the ground in North Dakota, everyone respects demonstrators' rights to protest peacefully, and workers' rights to do their jobs safely.
How You Can Help
Make a donation to the Official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe DAPL Donation Fund through PayPal! Donations will be used for legal, sanitary and emergency purposes!
Spread this article and others using the #NoDAPL hashtag and social media sites.
The following actions are suggested by the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition page on FaceBook:
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Keywords: #NoDAPL, Dakota Access Pipeline, Environmental racism, Lakota, Standing Rock, Sioux, sacred sites