For many generations, Native leadership has been at the forefront of protecting God’s creation, often at great sacrifice to themselves. This is especially true for the Standing Rock Sioux, who have stood as peaceful and powerful warriors on behalf of their ancient lands on the Missouri River in North Dakota. They have drawn a line at the Oceti Sakowin camp (the Native name for Sioux) against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that threatens to poison the water of this great river.
The Water Protectors at Standing Rock are at a crisis point, since the company behind DAPL is pushing hard to complete the pipeline by January 1 at current contract prices. Pipeline owners need the Native resisters out of the way NOW. While the Army Corps of Engineers has issued an eviction notice to the camp as of Monday, December 5, the Corps has since said they will not enforce the action.
The Governor of North Dakota, on the other hand, is not so gentle. He intends to starve the water protectors and freeze them out. While this is nothing new to indigenous peoples of the Dakotas, it is shocking that it is still going on today. Governor Dalrymple is a Presbyterian and we are asking people of faith to write to him this week, urging him to live into our shared religious values, including loving our neighbors as ourselves.
As people of faith of all traditions, we have been asked to join the warriors of Sioux Nation this week by taking these steps:
• Email Governor Dalrymple here (or send a letter to him c/o Office of Governor, State of North Dakota, 600 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58505) and ask him desist from attacking the Oceti Sakowin camp— on behalf of our shared faith and care for God’s creation.
• Pray with the Standing Rock Sioux in your faith communities this weekend, as requested by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota tribes (the Buffalo people). He has asked for prayers for the Morton County Sherriff’s Department deputies who have attacked the water protectors, prayers for the Governor and the DAPL pipeline owners, prayers for President Obama, and prayers for the people at Oceti Sakowin.
• Call your Senators today, as precious few have heard from religious voices on behalf of the Water Protectors. Washington’s Senator Maria Cantwell is on the Indian Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate and can be reached at (206) 220-6400. Senator Patty Murray is at (206) 553-5545. If you live outside Washington State, find your senators here.
The Standing Rock Sioux have stood strong against that which will pollute their water and sacred lands. They are no less powerful for their good prayers and peaceful means. May we join them in compassion and resistance.
Program and Outreach Director
Washington Interfaith Power and Light