Pipeline fight has evolved into a ‘powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations’
Tipis began sprouting up on the National Mall on Tuesday as native communities and their allies descended on the nation’s capital for a week of workshops and lobbying for Indigenous rights in anticipation of Friday’s massive Native Nations Rising march.
The four-day demonstration was spurred by opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the fight that galvanized native people, at one point drawing members of more than 300 federally recognized Native American tribes and thousands of other supporters to the Standing Rock Sioux’s protest camps.
“This movement has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment, and future generations,” read a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Native Organizers Alliance. “Now its time to take this to the doors of the White House.”
The two-mile march on Friday will begin at the headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers and culminate across from the White House in Lafayette Square, where a rally will “demand that Indigenous rights be respected,” which includes rescinding President Donald Trump’s recent executive order advancing construction of the 1,172-mile oil pipeline, which threatens Standing Rock sovereignty and threatens the tribe’s sacred water source.
The tribal opposition suffered another legal setback on Tuesday when a federal judge declined to temporarily halt construction of the pipeline, meaning that oil could potentially flow beneath Lake Oahe as soon as next week.
“They want us to believe the fight is over—but we can still win this. We can unite in peaceful, prayerful resistance against this illegal pipeline,” said Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault II in a press statement ahead of the latest ruling. “Now, we are calling on all our Native relatives and allies to rise with us. We must march against injustice—Native nations cannot continue to be pushed aside to benefit corporate interests and government whim.”
However, noting that this gathering is greater than one tribe and one pipeline fight, the organizers are also urging Trump to meet with tribal leaders to learn “why it’s critical that the U.S. government respect tribal rights.” They’re also asking that the administration seek “consent, not consultation,” to ensure that tribal interests are not marginalized in favor of corporate ones.