SoCal Indigenous Peoples and Allies in Support of Standing Rock Called on President Obama on November 15 to Put a Permanent Stop to Pipeline
Los Angeles, California — On November 15, thousands joined Southern California Indigenous Groups, Climate Action Organizations, Environmentalists, Political Activists, and Labor Groups in a nationwide day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline, demonstrating in solidarity with water protectors in North Dakota at the Army Corps of Engineers office in Downtown Los Angeles, California. The 18-member coalition has called itself SoCal Indigenous Peoples and Allies in Support of Standing Rock.
Despite a welcome delay of the Dakota Access Pipeline and a promise to consult the affected Native Nations and Groups, the coalition calls for stronger action.
GrayWolf, Director of American Indian Movement (AIM) Southern California said:
“The last Indian War: No DAPL. This has to do with protecting Sacred Sites, protecting tribal sovereignty, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Not honoring the Treaties, it’s not surprising the construction of the pipeline continues…no offense, but the government’s word doesn’t mean anything.”
SoCal Indigenous Peoples and Allies in Support of Standing Rock released this letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on November 15:
November 15, 2016
Colonel Kirk Gibbs
US Army Engineer District Commander, Los Angeles
911 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Re: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe – Dakota Access Pipeline
Dear Colonel Gibbs:
We, the undersigned Indigenous-led, and allied organizations, write from Los Angeles County, within the ancestral homelands of the Tongva/Gabrielino, Tataviam, and Chumash Nations, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and call on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (hereinafter “ACOE”) to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline which would cause irreparable harm to sacred land and water as well as the climate. Despite yesterday’s welcome announcement that your final decision on granting an easement has been delayed, the ACOE should revoke the permits under “Nationwide Permit 12” and stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline permanently.
As Chairman Dave Archambault has noted to the Corps in a letter this month, the practical and spiritual importance of the waters of Lake Oahe to the life of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe cannot be underestimated. An oil spill from the Dakota Access pipeline there would be devastating. Yet the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) dismisses the Tribe’s concerns, stating that direct and indirect impacts of the proposed crossing at Lake Oahe “will not affect members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or the Tribal reservation.” Final EA at 85.
This underscores one of the fundamental deficiencies of the Final EA – it assumes, without foundation, that placing a massive oil pipeline upstream from the Reservation presents no risk to the Tribe. This raises the question – if the Dakota Access pipeline is so safe that it presents no risk at all when situated on the Tribe’s doorstep, why isn’t the pipeline safe enough to cross the River north of Bismarck, as originally proposed? The Final EA provides no answer.
Confusing Process, Dakota Access LLC Operating without Oversight
The ACOE Delay, follows another one that was deemed “only a proposal,” with no implemented work stoppage. It appears that Dakota Access LLC released a statement confirming they have “completed construction of the pipeline on each side of Lake Oahe” and stated they are “currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site.” Furthermore, Dakota Access expects to have fully mobilized all equipment needed to drill under the Missouri River within two weeks. Once all the equipment is in place at the construction site, Dakota Access plans to commence horizontal drilling underneath the river.
An official temporary work stoppage is welcome, but full environmental documentation for the existing as well as proposed permits is necessary. Approval of the outstanding permits without the proper due diligence would not be legal. And starting construction without permits, as Dakota Access intimated through their press release, would be unconscionable.
Our Message: Standing Rock is Everywhere.
Moreover, the undersigned Southern California-based Indigenous-led and allied organizations recognize that all U.S. territories are within the ancestral homelands of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples. We therefore uplift the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, Articles 19 and 32 which require that States obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples prior adopting legislation or undertaking projects that affect Indigenous Peoples rights to lands, territory, and resources.
In addition to supporting the sovereign Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s call for proper environmental documentation and government-to-government consultation for Dakota Access, we respectfully remind ACOE that government-to-government consultation must be undertaken for all projects likely to impact Native American sacred sites, including those within Los Angeles County, which lies within the ancestral territories of the Tongva/Gabrielino, Tataviam, and Chumash Peoples, and for all projects that require ACOE review throughout California.
Our November 15 National Day of Action advises the recent call for consultation must obtain a “free, prior, and informed consent” to move forward with Dakota Access. We request the Army Corps revisit earlier decisions regarding the Lake Oahe crossing and determine, based on the public interest and environmental risks, that the easement for that crossing should be permanently denied.
Organizations from SoCal Indigenous Peoples and Allies in Support of Standing Rock
The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux demanding treaty rights to land and water, as well as proper adherence to federal environmental laws, reflects similar struggles in Southern California. The intersection of movements for Indigenous Rights, Environmental Justice, and Global Climate Stability, are seeking clean and economically efficient alternatives to the deadly risks to air, land, water, and climate posed by fossil fuel drilling, transporting, refining, storage, and burning. The Dakota Access Pipeline is the last thing the US needs while it struggles to solidify a clean energy economy and a livable future.
Standing Rock is Everywhere, and the 18 co-sponsoring organizations are working together here to ask President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to act now to stop this project before irreparable damage is done. A joint letter from interested organizations will be delivered to the Army Corps on the day of the action, as well as hand-written letters by attendees.
WHAT: A solidarity protest in conjunction with the National Day of Action against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
WHO: As of Monday afternoon, we have more than 2,700 RSVPs to the event put on by the 18-member SoCal Indigenous Peoples and Allies in Support of Standing Rock. Following the recent election, citizens are looking for peaceful ways to express their interest in a just world and a clean environment.
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 15 Noon to 2:00 pm
WHERE: U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, 915 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
ACTION NETWORK SITE: http://bit.ly/2fkxLcu
Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/1737848889874142/
VISUALS: Art builds, sign and banner-making parties displaying a colorful array of political art have already happened in several locations and will be out in the crowded streets of Downtown on Tuesday.
WHY: SoCal 350 Climate Action, Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, American Indian Movement (AIM) SoCal, Native Voice Network, Indigenous Peoples Day LA Coalition, American Indian Community Council, Semillas Del Pueblo, Idle No More Venice/Los Angeles, Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, March and Rally Los Angeles, WilderUtopia, Tar Sands Action SoCal, California Nurses Association, Greenpeace Los Angeles, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch California, and Labor for Standing Rock will join with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth and other climate and social justice groups across the country for a national day of action calling on President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
This call to action from indigenous leaders in Standing Rock is in response to increased violent repression from militarized police as the pipeline company continues construction on sacred land despite a voluntary hold by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Thousands nationwide will call on President Obama to do everything in his power to stop the pipeline, while standing in solidarity with indigenous people, people of color and other communities threatened by a Trump presidency. Continuing to fight against the fossil fuel industry and for indigenous rights is more important than ever. This pipeline is a threat to Native sovereignty and would be a climate disaster.
Video from Be The Change International
Here are some Photos by Ben Hauck
Video of the Action from No BS Media
**SOCAL 350 MISSION**
We aim to organize, activate, and engage across class, gender, racial, and ethnic lines to build a mass movement throughout Southern California for a healthy climate and a 100% clean energy future with full employment. SoCal 350 is affiliated with the international climate change organization 350.org.