Bronx Climate Justice North stands in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters and other allies engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Standing Rock encampments in North Dakota. Their struggle is our struggle. Their resistance is our resistance. The future of all people is at stake. The Dakota Access Pipeline struggle is a critically important one for the global climate, for safe drinking water, and for human rights. First and foremost, however, this struggle is about Native American liberation, self-determination, sovereignty, and survival.
Since European settlers first arrived on this continent, First Nations peoples have been subjected to attacks on their sovereignty, theft of their land, and campaigns of assimilation, cultural erasure, and genocide. These attacks against Native American Peoples have not ended. The latest can be seen in the determination of Energy Transfer Partners, the many banks and financial institutions funding construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and law enforcement and political leaders of North Dakota to construct a dangerous and destructive pipeline in violation of Treaty agreements with Indigenous Peoples and against the express wishes of those living in or near the path of the pipeline or along water bodies that would be affected by the pipeline.
The federal government of the United States, which has pursued genocidal policies against Native American Peoples for hundreds of years, only recently implemented, with conditions, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It must be held to the letter, spirit, and intention of the Declaration.
The federal government has betrayed its obligation, under the Public Trust Doctrine, to protect the air, land, water, and wildlife that belong to all, in common. We stand against hydraulic fracking of oil and gas and the infrastructure that supports it. We demand that fossil fuels be left in the ground. We are fighting for a rapid, just shift to a renewable energy future that prioritizes the needs and recognizes the past sacrifices of front line peoples who have suffered first and worst from environmental destruction and racism.
We uphold the validity of indigenous treaty rights, nonviolent civil disobedience, and the protection of nature and natural resources without which our lives and the viability and beauty of the natural world are imminently threatened by corporations guided solely by profit, and local, state, and federal authorities in alliance with them.
We concur with the call of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for a “fair, independent, impartial, open, and transparent process to resolve this serious issue [construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline] and to avoid escalation into violence and further human rights abuses.”
We unequivocally support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and more than 200 other tribes from North and South America who have gathered in unity and in unprecedented numbers to peacefully and prayerfully oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We acknowledge that, indeed, Indigenous Peoples were the first climate justice activists.
If constructed, this 1,100-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline would move 400,000 barrels of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, and beneath hundreds of streams, tributaries, and rivers, including the 2,431-mile Missouri River, which provides drinking water to millions. Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has begun without the required environmental review procedures. It is violating the historic rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, including the right to clean water, and the protection of sacred burial and other ancient cultural sites guaranteed by the Native American Religious Freedom Act of 1978. In addition, the Dakota Access Pipeline project violates agreements made by the U.S. Government with the Great Sioux Nation in the Treaties of Fort Laramie of 1851, 1859, and 1868.
As a climate justice organization, we understand that construction of fossil fuel pipelines endangers the future of Indigenous peoples, humanity as a whole, and the living systems of the Earth. We understand that climate change is a social, racial, and economic justice issue. We stand with the Native American youth of Standing Rock who, courageously and with great foresight, are standing with their elders to protect the waters and lands of the Great Plains, down to the seventh generation.
Bronx Climate Justice North stands with fellow Bronx climate and environmental justice advocates as they stand with Standing Rock. We stand with the growing number of cities, civil society organizations, religious communities, and other non-Indigenous allies that stand with Standing Rock.
We demand an immediate cessation to the destruction of the commons and of sacred Native American burial and cultural sites. We demand an immediate cessation to the abusive, harassing, unconstitutional, and militarized police and private security response to the peaceful Standing Rock protectors – we demand the immediate, respectful restoration and protection of their First Amendment rights. We demand justice, human rights, security, and clean air, lands, and waters for our Native American brothers and sisters and for ourselves.
This is a fight for us all. We are undivided in our need for safe water, safe food, a livable climate, and human rights. We demand a living, vibrant future for our planet. We will continue to resist, and we will support the Standing Rock resistance, until the Dakota Access Pipeline project is terminated.
~ NO DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE ~ WATER IS LIFE ~