Environment | Opinion

Dave Archambault: Why the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline






Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe addresses supporters outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe explains why his people are standing up to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline:
Protecting water and our sacred places has always been at the center of our cause. The Indian encampment on the Cannonball grows daily, with nearly 90 tribes now represented. Many of us have been here before, facing the destruction of homelands and waters, as time and time again tribes were ignored when we opposed projects like the Dakota Access pipeline.

Our hand continues to be open to cooperation, and our cause is just. This fight is not just for the interests of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, but also for those of our neighbors on the Missouri River: The ranchers and farmers and small towns who depend on the river have shown overwhelming support for our protest.

As American citizens, we all have a responsibility to speak for a vision of the future that is safe and productive for our grandchildren. We are a peaceful people and our tribal council is committed to nonviolence; it is our constitutional right to express our views and take this stand at the Cannonball camp. Yet the lieutenant governor of North Dakota, Drew Wrigley, has threatened to use his power to end this historic, peaceful gathering.

We are also a resilient people who have survived unspeakable hardships in the past, so we know what is at stake now. As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.

As one of our greatest leaders, Chief Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Lakota, once said: “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” That appeal is as relevant today as it was more than a century ago.

Read More:
Dave Archambault II: Taking a Stand at Standing Rock (The New York Times 8/25)

Solidarity from activists in Wales:
Eddie Ladd, Sioned Haf and Robat Idris: From Across the Atlantic, A Letter of Support for Standing Rock (Indian Country Today 8/24)

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