I received this email today from Osprey Orielle Lake and the Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, whose mailing list I'm on. I felt it was so important, I wanted to pass it along.

As December 5 looms and the cold winter descends, I hope more of us in the depth community can continue our support for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, whether it be through the important action steps listed below, signing a petition, offering material resources, spreading the word, or holding them in our thoughts and prayers. They are doing what many of us cannot by being there in person, but we can also participate in another way.

By holding this from a depth perspective, we empower ourselves and others to show up and speak up for the earth, the ancestors, and the sacred traditions that link us to something greater than our everyday ego-driven selves.

—Bonnie Bright

Call to Action for the Global Month of 

Standing Rock Solidarity Actions

December 3rd, 2016

December 3, 2016

Dear Friends and Allies, 

The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) and the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) are collaborating to respond to the December Month of Action being called for by Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

Our respective members have recently returned from Standing Rock where we collectively participated in actions on the frontlines, supported the winterizing of the Oceti Sakowin camp and brought supplies.  This delegation consisted of more than 100 people from 20 organizations affiliated with CJA and GGJ. Our members were mostly People of Color, LGBTQ people, women, and immigrants who are on the frontline of extractive industries, environmental racism and police brutality in their own communities.  We recognize our collective stake in supporting the Water Protectors of Standing Rock in their struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

During our time there, our delegation witnessed the police militarization, human rights abuses that the Water Protectors at Standing Rock have been facing for months and the violation of International Treaties with Indigenous Peoples. On the day of Thankstaking, we participated in an action to take back Turtle Island, a sacred site that the police had settled on. Despite being met with militarization, the Water Protectors remained peaceful and prayerful during the action. The next day, members of our delegation were targeted and arrested during an action at Kirkwood Mall.

On the same day, the the Army Corps of Engineers issued an order that the camp be cleared by December 5, citing extreme weather conditions. This order comes after the Morton County Sheriff's Department used water cannons on peaceful Water Protectors in below freezing weather. A coalition of Indigenous-led groups on the ground declared the eviction notice "an aggressive threat against Indigenous peoples," and stated that they will not be moved. Although the Governor has said that they will not forcibly remove anyone, their previous abuse of power and actions indicate otherwise.

We are deeply concerned and recognize now more than ever the importance of taking collective action around NoDAPL and broadening support for the Water Protectors on the ground to both address the human rights violations on Indigenous Peoples and the more comprehensive struggle for climate justice. The Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice and the WECAN are continuing our support by collaborating  to respond to the December Month of Action being called for by Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

There is a great deal to navigate in this struggle including historic traumas, environmental racism, patriarchy, colonization, oppression and capitalism that bear down on Indigenous and frontline communities first and worst, and today we are saying, enough is enough. We stand with the Standing Rock Sioux people and allies in a Call to Action, there is no time to wait!

Actions you can take:

1) Join/organize an action in December as part of the Global Month of Action. See the map of actions here

2) Demand that Obama deny the DAPL pipeline permit now and demand a proper Environmental Impact Statement. Donald Trump is going to be President in a very short time and right now the US Army Corps of Engineers is delaying its decision on the Dakota Access pipeline for more consultation. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers' Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.In addition sign this petition.

3) Divest from the banks investing in DAPL. We are asking people to shut down the banks that are funding DAPL and close your personal accounts at these banks. Here is a useful article from YES! Magazine with the list of banks and contact information.

4) Pressure police departments to permanently withdraw from Standing Rock- this is a clear case of human rights violations. Here is a list.

5) Donate to the legal funds, supply funds, or send supplies:

This call to action is initiated by the 524 Years of Resistance grassroots delegation to Standing Rock

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)

Climate Justice Alliance

Communities for a Better Environment

East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC)


EDGE Funders Alliance

Got Green / Black Book Club

Grassroots Global Justice

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)

Ironbound Community Corporation

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)

Movement Generation

The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Justice (PODER)


Women of Color Lead

Women's Earth and Climate Action Network(WECAN)

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  • As far as I can tell, main-stream media has given very little coverage to the events at Standing Rock.  Independent media and individuals, posting on Youtube, are at least on the scene, witnessing the actual "confrontations" on the 'front line', and interviewing people.  Apparently the Army Corps did *not* announce today that they are denying the permit to continue the pipeline under Lake Oahe.  The Corps said they will not issue the permit until an environmental impact statement is done. (interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.)   An impact statement is more rigorous than an environmental *assessement*.  It requires considering the effect on people, not just the environment itself, and can take several months or more.  This process was a decisive factor in stopping the XL Keystone pipeline (according to Kennedy).

    Many water protectors say they will not leave the camp. They believe drilling under the lake will continue despite the lack of a permit, partly because the company is confident President-elect Trump is firmly on their side. 

    One thing that doesn't get covered very often is the actual legal arguments being made by the Sioux tribe against the pipeline's planned route.  It will take me some more research to understand this as much as I'd like, but I've learned some things just by starting.  One of the *moral* arguments the native leaders make is that the Army Corps has jurisdiction over the land in question only because of gross violations of treaties in the past:

    Stanford experts discuss legal and environmental challenges at Stan...

    Why are the Treaties of Fort Laramie from 1851 and 1868, which gave the Sioux much larger territorial claims over the land in dispute with the pipeline’s construction, not being honored by the U.S. government?

    Ablavsky: In the late 19th century, Congress diminished the boundaries of the Sioux Reservation established in the 1851 and 1868 treaties. Although this violation of the treaties occurred without tribal consent, unfortunately the Supreme Court’s 1903 decision in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock allows Congress to abrogate Indian treaties unilaterally.

    According to the Wikipedia article on Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, this is how things went for the Kiowa tribes involved in the case:

    This was one of the first cases where an Indian tribe went to court rather than resort to warfare to resolve an issue.[fn 17][76] It was also a major defeat for the tribes. Reports show that ninety percent of the land allotted to tribal members was lost by them to settlers.[77] By the 1920s, the KCA tribes were impoverished, with an unemployment rate of sixty percent.[78]

    By 1934, approximately 90,000,000 acres (36,000,000 ha), which was two-thirds of Indian lands, had been transferred to settlers.[79] Until the Meriam Report was published showing the destructive effects of the policy, the allotment process continued unchecked.[80] By the time Congress ended allotment, the KCA land went from 2,900,000 acres (1,200,000 ha) to about 3,000 acres (1,200 ha).[81] Also, the Court's ruling meant that the only recourse left for Indian tribes to use to resolve land disputes was Congress.[82] Indians were not eligible to bring a case in the United States Court of Claims under the Tucker Act,[83] and were limited to actions in often hostile state courts.

    Legally, scholars have compared Lone Wolf to the infamous Dred Scott case,[84] and universally condemned the decision.

    As I read it, you can pretty much sum up the 1903 (unanimous) Supreme Court decision on the case this way: Native tribes are dependant on the U.S. gov't.  That means Congress has a responsibility to protect them, and so . . . any decision on Native lands by Congress *is*, therefore, in the tribe's best interest, and no court involvement is warranted. 

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