(December 2, 2016) – Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) called on United States President Barack Obama, in a letter yesterday, to take immediate action to stop the violence and civil rights violations being perpetrated by agents of Dakota Access, LLC and law enforcement agencies against peaceful Water
at Oceti Sakowin Camp.
The Oceti Sakowin Camp is a historic gathering of Indigenous Nations, allies, and people from all walks of life standing in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
“It’s time for the United States to end its history of abuse and human rights violations against this land’s Indigenous peoples,” said President Richard Peterson. “I call on President Obama to take immediate action to end this escalating violence before someone loses their life. Serious injuries have been suffered by these innocent, peaceful American citizens while exercising their civil rights. The violence must stop now. We must choose to protect our sacred lands and waters over the profits of the oil industry.”
One step Central Council has respectfully suggested the President of the United States take is to federalize the North Dakota National Guard and order the Guard to protect the Water Protectors and permit lawful, peaceful assembly.
The Tribe also seeks accountability for the shocking mistreatment of the Water Protectors and has requested that President Obama order the Department of Justice to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute the private security personnel and all law enforcement officers who are violating laws and committing acts of violence against these peaceful Water Protectors.
Finally, Central Council has asked President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ order to remove the Water Protectors to a "free speech zone" by December 5, 2016. The order would remove the Water Protectors from Corps-managed federal lands, where federal jurisdiction would better protect them, to land under state jurisdiction. Federal law enforcement is needed to protect the protectors from private security and state law enforcement personnel.
“The United States’ First Amendment cannot permit an assault upon the peaceable assembly and free speech on full display at Oceti Sakowin Camp,” said President Peterson. “I ask President Obama, as our Commander in Chief, to protect the exercise of these civil rights.”
Central Council unanimously adopted a resolution in August 2016 opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline and calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the river crossing permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and calling on the Secretary of Interior to fully exercise the trust responsibility and ensure that the federal government rejects the Dakota Access Pipeline. As stewards of the air, land, and sea, who have respect for nature and property, Central Council continues to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Water Protectors at Oceti Sakowin Camp who have been peacefully protesting to protect their water, people, land and way of life.