Tribes ask that sovereign rights be honored
Published August 30, 2016
CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA— In a strong sign of solidarity, eight Washington state tribes journeyed to to the banks of the Cannonball River on Tuesday to voice their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight to oppose to the proposed 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.
“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.
“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.”
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