Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Washington state tribes gather to oppose Dakota Access Pipeline: Tribes ask that sovereign rights be honored

CANNON BALL, North Dakota——The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and eight Washington state tribes gathered along the banks of the Cannonball River to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run through Standing Rock’s ancestral homelands. The tribes urged the United States District Court to rule in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to issue an injunction that stops construction of the pipeline until the Tribe’s waters and cultural resources are protected.

The eight Washington state tribes included the Yakama Nation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Lummi Nation, Puyallup Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Hoh Tribe, many of whom have faced similar challenges to their lands and ways of life. Some of the tribes that attended the event have won recent battles against proposed oil and coal export terminals that would have violated treaty rights, endangered fish and shellfish, and threatened the tribes’ very existence.


Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with WA State Tribes

““We’’ve seen the success our friends from Washington state have had in their battles to protect treaty rights against the transport of fossil fuels,”” said David Archambault II, Chairman of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “”Their support is crucial in the protection of our land, water, and cultural resources, as well as all of our sovereign rights that we are asking Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy to honor.””

The peaceful gathering near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, is estimated at 1,500 people, and has inspired American Indians, celebrities, and activists from across the country to show their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Numerous tribes have written letters to President Obama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking them to fulfill their trust obligation to tribes and reconsider the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

““Words can’t express how thankful we are for all of the prayers, support, letters, and donations we have received,”” said Archambault. “”It inspires us every day on our mission to protect this area for future generations and all who use it.””

More than 150 tribes are standing with Standing Rock on this pipeline issue, with dozens of tribes joining the camp to show their support.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is arguing in court that the Dakota Access Pipeline was fast-tracked by the federal government, which is a direct violation of the Tribe’s rights as a sovereign nation because it will hurt the Tribe’s safe drinking water and historic and cultural resources. The Tribe has asked the United States government to conduct a more stringent environmental review to ensure the protection of the Tribe’s treaty rights and sacred places.

Photo by Peggen Frank

Photo by Peggen Frank

““Everyone has heard that this pipeline would be more than 1,100 miles long and would transport more than half a million barrels of crude oil every day across our lands,”” said Cedric Good House, a traditional leader for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “”What they don’t know are the irreplaceable sacred places across the landscape and the deep cultural and spiritual knowledge that is tied to them. These are the places and the knowledge that make us who we are today as a tribe. I plan on telling my grandchildren about the time when tribes across the country stood up and fought for treaty, culture, and the future. And we fought for the future of safe drinking water for all Americans. No longer is the world watching us, the world is with us.””

“Yakama is humbled and honored to stand beside our brothers and sisters of the Standing Rock Sioux. We, along with peoples of all walks of life, are observing a peaceful and prayerful gathering to move an entire country. We stand united in solidarity with the natural laws of this land, advocating for responsible decision making and honorable communications. Together, we express to the U.S. government that now, more than ever, is the time to fulfill the trust obligations laid out within the treaties and historical interactions with the Native peoples of this land. Until such things come to pass, the spirit and voice of all peoples shall unite with Standing Rock. One voice, one heart, and one spirit to speak for those things that cannot speak for themselves. Nye.” -JoDe Goudy, Chairman of Yakama Nation

“Lummi is honored to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. Like the Standing Rock Sioux, Lummi’s waters, sacred burial sites, and treaty rights have been at risk. We stand with our fellow tribal nations to protect our sacred resources.” -Timothy Ballew II, Chairman of Lummi Indian Business Council

“We are a placed-based society. We live where our ancestors are buried. Our culture, laws, and values are tied to all that surrounds us, the place where our children’s future will be for years to come. We cannot ruin where our ancestors are buried and where our children will call home, uproot ourselves and move to another place. We cannot keep taking for granted the clean water, the salmon and buffalo, the roots and berries, and all that makes up the places that our First People have inhabited since time immemorial. Our futures are bound together.” -Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of Swinomish Tribe

“The Chalaat people from Hoh River, Washington, are honored to stand here with our brothers and sisters from all of Indian Country. We come in a good way. We are the voice for future generations of all of humanity. We are doing what is right and protecting Mother Earth, our water, and our natural resources, from the land to the sea. We will stand and fight the good fight. It is time for the federal government to honor the treaties. To stand with us and be good stewards and respect our Mother Earth and all she gives us.” -Maria Lopez, Chairwoman of Hoh Tribe

“I am here to stand with the Standing Rock people because my people are facing the same threats to bear the risk of development for the Puyallup tribe. It is an LNG terminal that will be built in the middle of our reservation and threaten our treaty protected resources.” -David Bean, Councilman of Puyallup Tribe

“The Suquamish Tribe supports the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its efforts to protect its sacred lands and waters from the destructive impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We call on the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibility and seriously address the concerns expressed by the Standing Rock leaders regarding the inadequate and incomplete permit process.” -Sammy Mabe, Councilman of Suquamish

Posted by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire. Follow at @wakiyan7

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire. Follow at @wakiyan7

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