Mashantuckets Announce Support for Dakota Access Pipeline Protest
This article was published on: 09/8/16 8:03 PM by Curt
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced its support today for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. “We are united together in support of our brothers and sisters gathered at Standing Rock,” says Chairman Rodney Butler. “This is about joining thousands nationwide who are speaking out about the importance of protecting our sacred sites and resources, while also protesting any disregard for tribal sovereignty whenever a proposed development or action threatens to impact a tribal community. What’s happening at the Standing Rock Sioux Nation could happen to any community.”
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.8 billion project extending over 1,170 miles from North Dakota to Illinois, which will funnel a half-million barrels of crude oil each day through the Missouri and Little Missouri Rivers—a short distance upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The pipeline’s close proximity to the Reservation has ignited a massive protest effort against the very real threat of polluting the primary water supply for more than eight thousand Reservation residents and millions of others downstream, as well as desecrating sacred tribal historical and cultural sites.
The threat of water and soil pollution is nothing new. Initial plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline were to cross the Missouri River just north of Bismarck, but that plan was rejected because of Bismarck residents’ concerns that it would threaten their water supply. Likewise, similar pipelines have leaked in recent years—including a 2014 incident when more than twenty thousand barrels of crude oil spilled into a wheat field, and another incident where large amounts of salt water—a byproduct of oil production—had drained into North Dakota farmland.
The first delegation of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Members departed yesterday for Standing Rock North Dakota to join thousands of Native Americans gathered from all over the United States in an outpouring of united support. This “Spirit Camp” is a peaceful and prayerful effort to draw attention to the need for the Federal Government to uphold consultation requirements with tribal officials whenever an action or decision has the potential to impact tribes’ communities, historic and cultural sites.
The Mashantuckets will also host a Pipeline Protest Healing Fire–a cultural tradition and gathering place where local Native Americans and others come together in unity to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest efforts. The Fire begins at 4 PM on Friday Sept. 21st at the Mashantucket Pequot Cultural Grounds, located at 1 Matt’s Path, Mashantucket CT, and will continue for 24 hours.
Earlier this week, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council sent letters of support for the Pipeline Protest to national leaders, including Army Corps of Engineers, White House staff and President Obama. The Tribal Council continues to explore practical and impactful ways to lend additional support to the protest efforts.