We are in the midst of history. This is what the books don't teach you.
*all information has technical information has been provided through countless networks of #nodapl groups, media sources, the DAPL site itself, NYC Stands with Standing Rock Standing Rock Syllabus, which will be attached at the end, and a common knowledge on Indigenous history passed down to me from my Indigenous family.*
If you follow me on Instagram, have me as a friend on Facebook, or know me in some capacity, it is quite obvious that activism plays a deep role in my life; not because it's "cool" or "trendy," but as a multiracial Black, Brown, and Bronze woman, I have no choice but to be an activist every day of my life.
More recently I've devoted a lot of my time and attention to the standoff between the Standing Rock Sioux and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC taking place on the Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Contention has arose after DAPL was re-routed through Sioux Territory, once given to them during the first Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851; the construction of this pipeline would make part of it's ~1,200-mile length run through sacred burial grounds. Also, pipelines are dangerous. Initially DAPL was supposed to run through Bismarck, ND, the white border town of the area, but after locals complained that it'd affect drinking water and make living dangerous, the corporation planned on running the $3.8 billion black snake through Indigenous land. The building of the Pipeline would affect Lake Oahe, Lake Sakakawea, the Missouri River twice, and the Mississippi River once, hence the popular hashtag #waterislife and the name #WaterProtectors used instead of protestors.
First and foremost, it must be understood that DAPL violates the Fort Laramie Treaty of both 1851 and 1868, which was signed by the U.S., as well as more contemporary environmental policy. All instances of land violation the Sioux have undergone have been direct consequences of capitalism.
Timeline of U.S. settler colonialism and the Sioux
*NYC Stands with Standing Rock Standing Rock Syllabus
1787: The U.S. NW starts opening up land for settlers, igniting contention.
1803: Louisiana Purchase: the U.S. gets control of all land west of the Mississippi to the Rocky Mts.
1804: Louis & Clark go to Oceti Sakowin territory; refusing to pay tribute for their journey, the Sioux shun them. Consequently, L/C take two head tribal members--Black Buffalo and Buffalo Medicine--hostage after securing their passage on the river. L/C name the Oceti Sakowin "the violent miscreants of the savage race."
1812-1815: War of 1812; Canada and the U.S. borders are set up, ignoring Indigenous land claims.
1823: The John Marshall Supreme Court: 1st decision on nation-to-nation relations with North American Indigenous folk, rules that "Indians had no right of soil as sovereign, independent states."
1824: BIA is created.
1831: John Marshall Supreme Court: 2nd decision: "Indian tribes" are "domestic dependent nations."
1832: John Marshall Supreme Country: 3rd decision: the U.S. fed gov't had authority to govern relations between Indigenous nations/states.
1836-1839: The Trail of Tears.
1851: Treaty of Traverse des Sioux by the U.S. and Dakota nations stipulated the Dakota peoples would: (i) live sedentary, agricultural lifestyles apart from whites and (ii) adopt Christianity in exchange for gov't rations.
1851: First Fort Laramie Treaty (Horse Creek Treaty): signed by U.S. and reps from the Hidatsa, Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Crow, Sioux, Mandan, and Assiniboine nations guarantee the safety passage of whites to California.
1862-1864: Frustrated by economic destitution and settler encroachments, Dakota begin the Great Sioux Uprising. Bands attack settlers and the Army comes in; 38 Dakota men are sentenced to death. Following year, BIA abolishes the Dakota rez, forcibly moving them to Nebraska and SD.
1868: Fort Laramie Treaty: guarantees Sioux reservation, including the Black Hills, and hunting rights.
1871: Indian Appropriation Act: ending treaty making with Native nations.
1876-1877: The Great Sioux War: begins after gold is discovered in the Black Hills. U.S. violates the treaty, Colonel Custer attacks, seizes Black Hills; during the Battle of Little Bighorn, Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho kill Custer + large groups of the U.S. 7th Calvary.
1877: Black Hills Act: cuts off gov't rations until the Oceti Sakowin cede the Black Hills.
1883: Ex Parte Crow Dog: unless Congress authorizes it, fed courts have no jurisdiction over offenses in tribal court.
1884: 14th Amendment (Elk v. Wilkins): citizenship to all born in the U.S., not applying to Indigenous peoples.
1887: The Dawes Act: gives President authority to divide tribal reservations and sell them to individual Indigenous.
1889: U.S. violates 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty by breaking the Sioux rez into five smaller reservations.
1890: Responding to ^, Lakota Sioux take up the Ghost Dance. The BIA calls the Army, which assassinates Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. A small band of Lakota is forced to camp outside Pine Ridge rez at Wounded Knee, where the army tries to disarm them. Then, Wounded Knee Massacre happens, killing 250-300 Lakota, mostly women + children.
1908: Winters v U.S.: Indian reservation rights to water. Ruled that Indigenous have water use rights that can't be blocked through water projects.
1921: Snyder Act: allows appropriation of money for Indigenous under broad authority given to the Secretary of the Interior.
1924: Indigenous gain citizenship; projects of assimilation > recognition of sovereignty.
1934: Indian Reorganization Act: ends allotment --> replaces tradition governance with Western electoral systems and tribal constitutions modeled after the U.S. Constitution.
(a) Indian Claims Commission: settle outstanding claims against the U.S..
(b) Congress passes the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Plan: massive water infrastructure to increase fishing, hydropower and the works. In building this, the Army Corps of Engineers violates the Fort Laramie Treaties and Winters doctrine.
(c) National Congress of American Indians is established.
1945: President Truman directs the BIA to focus on the termination + assimilation of Indians into the Cold War society. From 1945-1960, the gov't ends more than 100 tribes and bands.
1948: Construction begins on the Lake Oahe dam for the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, and is completed in 1962. The Dam destroys more Native land than any other water project in the U.S. and eliminates 90% of timber land on the Standing Rock + Cheyenne Sioux Reservations.
1949: Hoover Commission recommends the "termination" of reservations and assimilation of Indigenous into North American societies/cities. This is a complete blow to the Roosevelt New Deal, returning to 19th century-assimilation politics.
1952: House Joint Resolution 698: criteria and guidelines for the termination of trustee status of Indian tribes and reservations.
1953: Public Law 280 moves authority and jurisdiction over tribal lands and resources from the BIA to the states in which tribes and reserves are located.
(a) +200 tribes gather in Chicago at the American Indian Chicago Conference. The Declaration of Indian Purpose is drafted for submission to Congress.
(b) From Chicago Conference, the National Indian Youth Council is formed in Gallup, NM --> beginning of Red Power Movement.
1968: American Indian Civil Rights Act: provides individual Indigenous with some protection against tribal govt's.
1969: Occupation of Alcatraz by AIM to reclaim traditional land.
1960s-70s: Creation of tribal colleges.
1970: Message to Congress on Indian Affairs from Nixon: calls for the real of termination laws + the inauguration of self-determination through self-help + community planning.
1971: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: 90% of Alaska Natives' land claims exchanged for a guarantee of 44 MILLION ACRES of land + $1 BILLION.
1972: Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan: Several Indigenous-led groups (close to 200 Indians in total) began caravanning from the West coast to D.C. with a 20-point paper demanding the U.S. respect the sovereignty of Indian nations. Nixon refuses to meet with the Caravan, so they occupy the BIA for a week until Nixon aides agreed to treaty negotiations.
1973: Wounded Knee Occupation: Oglala Lakota and AIM members occupy Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge to protest against the corrupt reserve governance structure. Lasts for 71 days and calls for re-establishment of U.S. treaty obligations and nation-to-nation relations with Indian nations in the U.S.. AIM member Leonard Peltier is held in federal prison for the murder of two FBI agents despite evidence that his trial was unconstitutional and unfair.
1974: First meeting of the International Indian Treaty Council, the international arm of AIM, at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. + 2000 people from 90 Indigenous Nations attend and issue “The Declaration for Continuing Independence."
1975: The Indian Self-Determination and Education Act: tribal governments get more control over their tribal affairs and can appropriate more funds for education.
1978: Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe: Supreme Court decides tribes don't have jurisdiction over non-Natives on tribal/reservation land.
(a) U.S. gov't rules the U.S. illegally seized the Black Hills in 1877, offers $15.5 million (1877 price of the land) plus $105 million (5% interest on the land over 103 years). The Lakota refuse and demand return of land from the United States.
(b) The Penobscots + Passamaquoddies accept monetary compensation from U.S. for their lands (now Maine), which the Massachusetts gov't took illegally in '70.
1986: Amendment to the Indian Civil Rights Act: grants tribal courts power to impose criminal penalty.
1988: Congress repeals Termination Policy.
1993: Ada Deer: assistance secretary for Indian Affairs by Clinton. First Indigenous woman to hold position.
(a) 300 reps from 556 federally recognized tribes meet with Clinton; first time since 1822 Indigenous have been officially invited to meet with a U.S. President to discuss Indian affairs.
(b) Violence Against Women Act: no provisions for tribal prosecution of domestic/sexual crimes against Native women by non-Native men.
1996: University of Arizona creates the first PhD program in American Indian Studies.
(a) 4,000 Alaska Natives march in Anchorage in protest of legislative/legal attacks on tribal governments and Native hunting/fishing traditions.
(b) Executive Order No.13084 (“Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments”): federal gov't will establish and uphold meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal govt's .
(c) The Makah Nation of Washington State renews tradition of whaling after a respite of seventy years, despite protests from other groups.
1999: Clinton visits Pine Ridge. Becomes the first sitting President since Coolidge in '27 to make an official visit to an Indian Reservation.
(a) The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in Anderson v. Evans: a case brought by animal advocacy groups, that the government had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement prior to approving the whaling quota and also held that the Marine Mammal Protection Act applied to the tribe’s proposed whale hunt.
(b) Bush signs an executive order reaffirming the federal gov'ts commitment to tribally-controlled colleges.
2004: Bone Shirt v. Hazeltine: SD violated the '65 Voting Rights Act when it approved a statewide redistricting plan that diluted the voting power of Indigenous in 2 districts.
2006: Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act of 2006.
2007: UN adopts Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia vote against the Declaration's adoption.
2008: Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Company Inc: tribal courts lack jurisdiction to decide discrimination claims concerning a non-Indian bank's sake of land it had on a rez.
2009: Obama signs a presidential memorandum to renew/enhance spirit of tribal consultation and collaboration.
2010: ND Supreme Court: retire the U of ND's Fighting Sioux nickname/logo.
(a) HEARTH (Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership) Act: tribal govt's can approve leasing of tribal lands. Creates voluntary land leasing process
(b) Oglala Sioux sued some of the world's biggest beer markers for $500M claiming they knowingly contributed to alcoholism on Pine Ridge.
(a) Violence Against Women Act is reauthorized; includes provisions where tribal governments may prosecute non-Natives, but only those who are accused of sexual or domestic violence against Natives with whom they have intimate relationships or other close ties. The legislation excludes Alaska Natives.
(b) Members of Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal to honor 33 tribes for their part in WWI and II.
2014: Obama speaks at Standing Rock promoting the need to help rez create jobs. Then, ~63.8% of able workers at Standing Rock were unemployed on the 2.3 million-acre rez (home to ~850 residents).
Where are we now?
2015: February: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) initiates DAPL. By December, The Corps says, "the Standing Rock THPO had indicated to DAPL that the Lake Oahu site avoided impacts to tribally significant sites." The Corps receives letters on the assessment from EPA, the U.S. Dept. of Interior, and ACHP. Other tribes whose lands are slated to be crossed by the Pipeline join voicing concerns, including the the Osage Nation and Iowa. The latter wrote, "We have not been consulted in an appropriate manner about the presence of traditional cultural properties, sites, or landscapes vital to our identity and spiritual well-being."
2016: August: the Standing Rock Sioux, represented by Earthjustice, file an injunction suing the Army Corps of Engineers. 11 after, Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company behind DAPL, sues the Sioux chairman + other leaders for blocking construction.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
These Facebook checkins have been OUTSTANDING. However, it's very important that while checking in is great/appreciated/necessary, there are other/more productive ways to support.
Call for the Army Corps of Engineers' Permit for DAPL to be rescinded
- Call the White House: (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
- Sign the White House petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-construction-dakota-access-pipeline-which-endangers-water-supply-native-american-reservations
- Call the Army Corps of Engineers: (202) 761-5903
- Call ND gov Jack Dalrymple: (701) 328-2200
- Call or Email your Congressional Representatives and Senators: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Please donate to any of these official fundraisers
- Red Owl Legal Collective: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/11B5z8
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe DAPL Donation Fund: http://standingrock.org/news/standing-rock-sioux-tribe--dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/
-Mní Wičhóni Nakíčižiŋ Owáyawa (Defenders of the Water School): https://www.youcaring.com/mn-wi-h-ni-nak-i-i-ow-yawa-675427
- Sacred Stone Legal Defense: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/d19fAf
- Red Warrior Legal Defense: https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/red-warrior-camp-legal-fund-nodapl
- Wild Oglala Camp: https://www.gofundme.com/2pvyezb8
- Winterize Water Protectors Camp: https://www.crowdrise.com/winterize-water-protectors-camp
- Wiyan Healing Wellness Space: https://www.gofundme.com/2mxpggc
Tell the executives of Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., to stop building the pipeline
- Lee Hanse, EVP: (210) 403-6455 x email@example.com
- Glenn Emery, VP: (210) 403-6762 x firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael (Cliff) Waters, Lead Analyst: (713) 989-2404
Most importantly: read, talk, and repost. Get others to join the movement in demanding that the DAPL be stopped, Standing Rock Sioux by heard, and our treaties be honored.
Sacred Stone Camp: http://sacredstonecamp.org
Red Warrior Camp: https://www.facebook.com/RedWarriorCamp/?fref=ts
Mississippi Stand: https://www.facebook.com/MississippiStandCamp/?fref=ts
Indigenous Environmental Network: https://www.facebook.com/ienearth/?fref=ts
Censored News: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com
#NoDAPL Solidarity Project: https://nodaplsolidarity.org
NYC Stands With Standing Rock Syllabus: https://nycstandswithstandingrock.wordpress.com/standingrocksyllabus/