Art by Jesus Barraza

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day — a great day for solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. On August 30th, UUA President Peter Morales wrote, “I urge you to join the effort to bear public witness to the injustice in North Dakota and add your voice to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline”.

The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is galvanizing and uniting a Global Indigenous movement. Hundreds of Indigenous tribes and even numerous US cities have made official statements of solidarity. UUs have been taking direct action, as covered recently by the UU World magazine, and many more UUs are wondering what they can do.

Yesterday evening it was announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request for an injunction to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (link) related to their discovery of burial grounds and archaeologically significant sacred sites along the pipeline route. It’s worth noting that the company in charge of construction, Energy Transfer Partners, used bulldozers to dig up the contested sites the very morning after the Standing Rock Sioux filed the lawsuit, which led to the incident last month where private security pepper sprayed and let dogs bite six pipeline protesters, including a child and a pregnant woman.

The company is now continuing construction at the Missouri River water crossing where the Standing Rock reservation gets 100% of their drinking water, and the camps have indicated that they will not stop resisting this pipeline until it is stopped. This morning a large group of water protectors from the Standing Rock camps occupied the easement site near the Missouri River crossing, and riot police were called in to remove people. A lot is happening in a very short amount of time. Following the Sacred Stone Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and Indigenous Environmental Network on social media is the fastest way to get updates from on the ground.

Today and tomorrow are part of an International call for prayer and action, with people in over 500 cities around the world participating. Consider taking a moment today to lift up compassion, gratitude, or prayer for the people out at the Standing Rock camps. The Sacred Stone Spirit Camp began in prayer, and has been sustained with Oceti Sakowin prayer ceremonies every single day since it was founded in April. Donating to the camps’ general funds or legal defense funds is another way you can support from afar. If you are passionate about this cause or considering taking solidarity action in other ways, two online opportunities this week might interest you:

This Thursday, Oct 13th, at 11:00 AM Eastern, the Church of the Larger Fellowship will be speaking with Unitarian Universalists who have been directly involved at the Standing Rock camps on their weekly talk show, The VUU.

On Thursday, October 13th and October 20th, at 7:30 PM Eastern, the Environmental Justice Practitioner’s Network will be facilitating conversations about Standing Rock, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Indigenous Solidarity. Anyone considering going to Standing Rock, or wondering how they can act in solidarity from where they live is highly encouraged to RSVP and attend.
Mni Wiconi! (Water is Life!)