The Seattle chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and considers it to be a danger to fundamental treaty rights, environmental health, social health, and the prosperity of the Sioux Nation.
On February 7th, 2017, the United States Army Corps of Engineers approved the easement of the Dakota Access Pipeline to be constructed in North Dakota. This easement is in direct violation of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty made between the United States and Sioux Nation. This treaty clearly states that the land proposed for the Dakota Access Pipeline is designated Standing Rock Sioux land, upon which no works may be constructed without consent of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Further, when interfacing with peaceful protesters, law enforcement on the construction line have committed abuses that violate basic human and constitutional rights. Protesters have been locked in dog cages, mutilated by concussion grenades, sprayed with water in sub-freezing temperatures, and severely injured by a plethora of other acts of excessive, reckless and unnecessary force.
Additionally, the relocation and approval of the new route to Standing Rock Sioux tribal land exemplifies environmental racism; the original proposed route was ultimately denied as a possible endangerment of Bismarck residents. If the pipeline were to leak, a vital water supply for millions of people, primarily Sioux, would be poisoned. This would absolutely devastate the surrounding population and environment. Thus, we call for the immediate and permanent halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction.
Seattle JACL affirms the position that the rights defined by the Fort Laramie Treaty must be honored. We denounce the actions of law enforcement on the project construction line and call for their immediate desistance from forcibly removing tribal member from their own land. We applaud the Seattle City Council’s unanimous vote to divest three billion dollars from Wells Fargo for their involvement with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and encourage them to further divest from US bank, which is also tied to the project construction.
Seattle JACL recognizes that Native American tribes across the country have historically been the target of abuse and subjugation by the United States government. From the genocide of millions of innocent indigenous lives to the multitude of broken treaties, history has long documented that the colonization of Native American land has never stopped. It is far past time to honor our treaties and respect the indigenous people of the First Nations. We call upon JACL National to take a stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Seattle JACL is the flagship chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, dedicated to securing and maintaining the civil rights of all who are victimized by injustice and bigotry.