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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Peninsula | U.S. | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections | Racial Justice
Stanford American Indian Organization Letter of Solidarity with the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota Peoples
The Stanford American Indian Organization stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota peoples in protest against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline is in direct violation of Articles I & II of the Treaty of Fort Laramie and serves to threaten the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual ways of life of the original peoples of this land.
In addition to the violation of the traditional ways of life, treaty rights, and human rights of the Dakota and Lakota people, the Dakota Access Pipeline is also in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirements to meaningfully consult with Native American tribes when performing Environmental Assessment reports on projects that affect their lands. The United States Army Corps of Engineers did not fulfill these obligations and blatantly ignored the protests of the Standing Rock people.
As well as federal law, the Dakota Access Pipeline violates the following articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a document that the United States government has supported:
· Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas, and other resources, and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard;
· Article 26.1: Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories, and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied, or otherwise used or acquired;
· Article 26.3: States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories, and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions, and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned;
· Article 29.2: States shall also take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior, and informed consent;
· Article 32.2: States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization, or exploitation of mineral, water, or other resources.
We believe that the Dakota Access Pipeline is the epitome of modern-day colonization, terrorism, and genocide. The humans, land, animals, and other beings along the Missouri River will be disturbed, poisoned, terrorized, and ultimately killed with this encroachment. The aforementioned assault against their ways of life, coupled with the blatant disregard of this Earth that gives us life, reminds us that economic interests are prioritized over the lives of the generations that come after us. More explicitly, the actions of the United States government, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the fact that the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted to avoid the North Dakota capital of Bismarck proves that indigenous lives are seen as lesser than other lives.
Moreover, this act will desecrate ceremonial sites and other places of sacred importance to the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. This tactic aims to eradicate Indigenous presence in this country and perpetuates the assimilation and acculturation motives reminiscent of the boarding school era and the atrocities that were committed against indigenous children.
Our organization intends on supporting efforts at the Sacred Stone Camp indefinitely, and vows to continue seeking justice in this matter. Several members of our Stanford community are members of the Lakota and Dakota tribes and rely heavily on ceremony and their connection to land as a way to pray and promote cultural, emotional, and spiritual revitalization. Our organization demands that the United States Federal Government holds itself accountable for its antagonistic actions against indigenous peoples at Standing Rock and beyond. SAIO will use various media platforms to call attention to crimes committed against the citizens of Standing Rock and other indigenous and non-indigenous folks along the Missouri River. As our school year begins in late September, members of this committee seek to educate others about this issue and will inform campus partners and allies about the gross misconduct of our elected officials, and the continued abuse against indigenous nations that the United States Federal Government perpetuates.
It is time for the federal government to respect and honor the treaties they entered with Indigenous nations. Article I of the Treaty of Fort Laramie states that the United States will convict those responsible for committing crimes against these peoples. The federal government should abide by its promises and cease and desist all further construction of this pipeline and act in compliance with its own laws.
Our community advocates for the long life and the physical, cultural, and spiritual survival of Lakota and Dakota peoples and other communities affected by this decision. We are grateful for the hard work of the peaceful protestors at the Sacred Stone Camp and we would like to express our gratitude for other tribal nations and organizations who have dedicated their efforts to protecting our ways of being and knowing. We offer our prayers to those at Standing Rock and surrounding areas, and we offer these words in response to the blatant disrespect, disregard, and dishonoring of our sacred lands, waters, and sovereignty, that the US Government continues to violently perpetuate to this day.
Joseph Manuel, Hopi and Pima, Co-chair
Leo John Bird, Amskapii Piikanii and Haida-Tlingit, Co-chair
January Tobacco, Oglala Lakota, Stanford Powwow Co-chair
Isabella Robbins, Diné, Stanford Powwow Co-chair
Melissa Eidman, Yurok, Stanford Powwow Co-chair
Aidan Hellen, Tlingit, Financial Officer
Aliyah Chavez, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Programming Chair
Alanna Simao, Native Hawaiian, Programming Chair
Loralee Sepsey, Paiute, Programming Chair
Carson Smith, Choctaw, Sib Program Coordinator
Chon Hampson-Medina, Ho-Chunk and White Earth Chippewa, Sib Program Coordinator
Kenaba Hatathlie, Diné, Sib Program Coordinator
Anpo Jensen, Oglala Lakota, Natives in Medicine Co-chair
Corey Ashley, Diné, Diné Club President
Constance Owl, Eastern Band Cherokee, Cherokee Club President
Lauve Gladstone, Tlingit, Alaska Native Student Association Co-chair
Kathryn Treder, Inupiaq, Alaska Native Student Association Co-chair, Programming Chair
Taryn Harvey, Diné, American Indian Science and Engineering Society President
Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO)
Created in 1970 by four Native American Stanford students, SAIO's original mission included improving the recruitment and retention of American Indian and Alaska Native students, staff, and faculty; the institutionalizing of culturally relevant curriculum; the establishment of a community center and theme house; and the permanent removal of the Stanford "Indian" mascot. SAIO is the umbrella organization of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians at Stanford that addresses the social, political, educational, and cultural issues of the community.