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Higher Ed Community in Solidarity w/ Standing Rock Sioux Blocking Dakota Access Pipeline

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Academics, Students, Staff Write to Express Grave Concern Regarding the DAPL's Threat to Tribal Rights, Access to Water, and Environmental Degradation

We write today to express our solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who will be egregiously impacted by construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a huge oil project being built by Energy Transfer Partners. The DAPL will not only cross the main tributary from which the Standing Rock peoples receive their water, and disrupt the land where they live, but at over 1,000 miles long and over 200 river crossings, "the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline puts the drinking water supply of a large part of the country at risk."

Like other pipeline projects, the DAPL carries imminent risks—the damage associated with pipeline ruptures are dangerous and damaging to cultural sites, aquifers that provide fresh water, and the environment as a whole.

We lift up the words of Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, who said:  “I am here to advise anyone that will listen that the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is harmful. It will not be just harmful to my people but its intent and construction will harm the water in the Missouri River, which is one of the cleanest and safest river tributary left in the United States.”

As individuals and organizations working in the higher education community, we believe it is our responsibility to make those struggles that are often invisibilized known and visible. We believe it is imperative that we spread understanding of the relevancy of this issue and others like it, as we are part of an institution helping to shape our future leaders, healers, and citizens.

We recognize that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes who oppose the pipeline are demonstrating not as protesters, but fulfilling their role as stewards and protectors of the land. The opposition to this pipeline demonstrates their understanding of the paramount importance of protecting the environment and ways of life for future generations.

Stopping the construction of the DAPL is an urgent and critical issue, but we also believe it is important to situate this latest threat in a historical context, as it is part of a long legacy of destruction of lands and resources of Native and indigenous peoples. The permit given by the Army Corps of Engineers allowing the DAPL construction to move forward is another instance of the US government's disregard for the treaty rights of the people indigenous to this land.

We support the opposition raised by the historic multi-tribal response, environmental groups, and many community organizations (some of which we have listed below).

Chairman Archambault further noted, “I've been told and taught that it is our responsibility to stand for our relatives, the ones that crawl, the ones that fly, the ones that burrow, the ones that swim, the ones that flower. Relatives that cannot speak for themselves. Who will speak for them? We have to speak for those who are not here—our ancestors, for those children who are not yet born...We have to speak for them. Children not yet born will not live without water. We have to speak for them.”

We also believe it is our responsibility to speak out.

As Natives who work in an institution of higher learning, we recognize our role of being in a unique position to have voice and influence. All of us who are part of the education community should use our voices to protect, support, and empower others, including those are working to sustain worldviews, beliefs, and cultures that are frequently disregarded in the mainstream narrative.

We call on our colleagues, peers, and allies to stand with us by signing this public statement.

We are students, faculty, scholars, staff, and administrators, who understand our unique role to connect our learned history with our present day context. Do not let this issue fade. Teach about this in your classes and discuss it with your colleagues.

We are stewards, too—stewards of current and future generations who have the agency to enable Native communities and the issues important to those communities be heard.

In Solidarity,

Phenocia Bauerle
Director, Native American Student Development, UC Berkeley
Member, Apsaalooke Nation

Rachelle Galloway-Popotas
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley
Member, Caddo Nation

‪#‎NoDAPL‬ ‪#‎MniWiconi‬ #‎WaterIsLife‬ ‪ #RezpectOurWater

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Standing Rock Sioux Statement:  http://standingrock.org/data/upfiles/media/Dave's%20Press%20statement%20for%20release.pdf

White House Petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-construction-dakota-access-pipeline-which-endangers-water-supply-native-american-reservations

No Dakota Access in Treaty Territory - Camp of the Sacred Stones: https://www.facebook.com/CampoftheSacredStone/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Rezpect Our Water: http://www.rezpectourwater.com/

Bill McKibben: After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native Americans 
http://grist.org/justice/after-525-years-its-time-to-actually-listen-to-native-americans/

PICO National Network - http://www.piconetwork.org/take-action/a-national-emergency-in-the-heart-of-indigenous-country

National Congress of American Indians Statement - https://www.facebook.com/ncai1944

Petition to Standing Rock Sioux and International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) jointly to United Nations human rights Special Rapporteurs.  http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1383891/95e72ee8db/545546365/0fb3cb9d79/

Coalition Support of Tribal Lawsuits Against US Army Corps Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline http://indigenousrising.org/coalition-support-of-tribal-lawsuits-against-us-army-corps-permits-for-the-dakota-access-pipeline/

Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline: Change.org petition from Anna Lee, Bobbi Jean & the Oceti Sakowin Youth Fort Yates, ND  https://www.change.org/u/528436916

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