OPEN LETTER: UBCIC Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline and Condemnation of Brutal State-Sanctioned Violence

November 3, 2016 

Dear Chairman Archambault and citizens of the Standing Rock Reservation:

We are writing with respect to UBCIC Resolution 2016-35 “Support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline” which was presented, affirmed and endorsed unanimously at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ (UBCIC) 48th Annual General Assembly on September 22, 2016.

We also write in follow-up to our letter of support to you from August 15th, 2016, and the subsequent visit that UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and his wife Joan Phillip were able to make to your territory in September, 2016. We thank you for your generous hospitality during the visit. Grand Chief Phillip and Joan were greatly moved and inspired by the struggle that the Tribe has taken on to defend your land and water, Indigenous sovereignty, and treaty rights, and by the solidarity that you have mobilized across North America. We are incredibly honoured to have a UBCIC flag flying at the site.

By Resolution 2016-35, the UBCIC Chiefs-in-Assembly fully support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allies in their opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access Pipeline poses a dangerous threat to the health and wellbeing of the Dakota and Lakota people of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, threatening to contaminate their waters, crops, and sacred burial grounds, and the construction of the pipeline violates United States federal law requiring meaningful consultation of Indigenous tribes, the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The UBCIC Chiefs-in-Assembly recognize and affirm the importance of standing with and supporting Indigenous peoples internationally who are defending their Title and Rights, and Treaty Rights. In this respect, we wish to acknowledge the expression of solidarity you provided by recently signing the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion which UBCIC has been working to advance.

We note that the UBCIC Chiefs-in-Assembly have directed the UBCIC Executive to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and those protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through support letters, showcases of solidarity, social media posts, and, subject to resources, monetary and resource donations as requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and those protesting at the construction site. We will be circulating Resolution 2016-35 to other First Nations organizations across Canada in order to garner nationwide support for international Indigenous collaboration against environmental destruction, government-sanctioned poisoning of Indigenous resources, and denial of inherent Indigenous rights to the land that Indigenous peoples have inhabited since time immemorial.

We fully condemn the atrocious state-sanctioned violence that is being perpetuated against the defenders of the water and allies in your territory right now, and will continue to support you by publicizing and opposing these attacks. Indigenous rights are human rights. Earlier this week, as members of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Pipelines, UBCIC called on Prime Minister Trudeau to condemn the violence occurring at Standing Rock given Canadian-based Enbridge’s investment role in the Dakota Access Pipeline. We will continue to apply pressure to stop this gross injustice. We are cautiously optimistic that President Obama has committed to examine options to “reroute” the Dakota Access Pipeline, although we remain concerned that he stated this will take a few more weeks.

On November 17th, in Vancouver, Grand Chief Phillip will be speaking with Tribal Attorney and National Campaign Director of Honour the Earth Tara Houska at a public forum titled “From Standing Rock to Burnaby Mountain: Can Direct Action Stop New Pipelines?” This forum will provide an opportunity to reflect on the parallels between direct action against the Dakota Access Pipeline and direct action against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline in British Columbia. We are highly aware that the violence being perpetuated against your people and allies while you are defending your land and water, could also take place here if projects like the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion are approved. We are doing everything in our power to stop new fossil-fuel extraction projects from going forward where there is no Indigenous consent and there is the likelihood of increasing the devastating impacts of climate change.

In closing, we remain resolute in our full and unwavering support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in defense of your territory and in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Please let us know if there are any additional ways that we can be of assistance. We continue to stand with you.

On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President 

Chief Robert Chamberlin
Vice-President 

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
Secretary-Treasurer

 

PDF copy of letter

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