Category Archives: Sacred Sites

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls For Immediate Halt to Dakota Access Pipeline

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it’s important to all people & living beings

Press Release: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges President to Immediately Halt Dakota Access Pipeline December 01, 2016
Washington, DC—In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) called on President Obama to immediately halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and announced plans to join thousands of veterans from across the country to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota this weekend.

“Growing up in Hawaii, I learned the value of caring for our home, caring for our planet, and the basic principle that we are all connected in a great chain of cause and effect.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to this great balance of life. Despite strong opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux and serious concerns raised by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline without adequately consulting the tribes, and without fully evaluating the potential impacts to neighboring tribal lands, sacred sites, and their water supply. Just one spill near the tribe’s reservation could release thousands of barrels of crude oil, contaminating the tribe’s drinking water.

The impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is clear. Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Pipeline, has a history of serious pipeline explosions, which have caused injury, death, and significant property damage in the past decade. The future operator of the planned pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has had over 200 environmentally damaging oil spills in the last 6 years alone—more than any of its competitors.

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it is an issue that is important to all people and all living beings everywhere. Water is life. We cannot survive without it. Once we allow an aquifer to be polluted, there is very little that can be done about it. This is why it is essential that we prevent water resources from being polluted in the first place.

Our Founding Fathers took great inspiration from Native American forms of governance, and the democratic principles that they were founded on. Their unique form of governance was built on an agreement called the Great Law of Peace, which states that before beginning their deliberations, the council shall be obliged, and I quote, “to express their gratitude to their cousins and greet them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.”

This recognition of our debt to the Creator and our responsibility to be responsible members of this great web of life was there from the beginning of Western democracy.

Freedom is not a buzzword. The freedom of our Founding Fathers was not the freedom to bulldoze wherever you like.

Our freedom is a freedom of mind, a freedom of heart, freedom to worship as we see fit, freedom from tyranny and freedom from terror. That’s the freedom this country was founded on, the freedom cultivated by America’s Native people, and the freedom the Standing Rock Sioux are now exercising.

This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters. Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water. The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaiʻi aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources.

We can’t undo history, but we must learn lessons from the past and carry them forward—to encourage cooperation among free people, to protect the sacred, to care for the Earth and for our children, and our children’s children. What’s at stake is our shared heritage of freedom and democracy and our shared future on this Great Turtle Island, our great United States of America.”

Standing with Standing Rock #NoDAPL

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As police are now using Facebook check-ins to target those in protest at Standing Rock, people are taking to social media to support the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline by checking in to the Standing Rock Reservation via Facebook to dilute the check-in system and stand in solidarity with those physically protesting at Standing Rock.

Internet activism is not particularly new, and it is far from perfect.  It is not necessarily the best way to participate but it is the most accessible and in the end it is an incredibly effective means to raise awareness about issues and start conversations around them.  It’s amazing to see people taking a public stance at the intersection of an environmental and human rights issue.  Making climate change a tangible issue to the public can be difficult as its effects are not often seen immediately, but when factors of climate change are directly correlated to human rights as well I think it is easier for people to sympathize with and take action to fight the unjust.  Issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Sioux reservation exhibit how human lives, particularly an indigenous tribe, are being displaced by actions of large corporations extremely similar to many of the articles we read last week concerning Monsanto and Dartmouth.  This directly reflects how the U.S. government has continued to marginalize Native American communities.  The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over 570,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.  Not only would this harm the surrounding environment and jeopardize safe drinking water, but sacred burial grounds and cultural traditions would be destroyed in the process.

The gallery below is just a few of the increasing posts I saw when scrolling through Facebook in the last couple of days. If there is an issue that you believe in, there is always something you can do even if it is as simple as clicking a button and sharing a link:

 

DOJ press release on Native Americans vs. US Army Corps of Engineers and Entergy Corp.

 Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, September 9, 2016 Joint Statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior Regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  “We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act.  However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain.  Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/joint-statement-department-justice-department-army-and-department-interior-regarding-standing