Photos: Tom and Nadin Abbott
Video: Tom Abbott
Editing: Nadin Abbott
“IT is about real history being made by the common people who want their children and their elders to be comfortable and educated.” Rick Trujillo
Sep 9, 2016 (San Diego) San Diegans, led by our local tribes, took to the streets at the Federal Building for peaceful protest, prayer and meditation. Prayers to the four cardinal points were uttered, sacred sage was burned, and dance and song was offered. All this also to demonstrate unity among the people, as well as educate passers by as to the events in North Dakota, and Standing Rock reservation.
This is about the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which the President has intervened in and ordered that all work stop. This is according to multiple media reports. According to ABC News.
The federal government stepped into the fight over the Dakota Access oil pipeline Friday, ordering work to stop on one segment of the project in North Dakota and asking the Texas-based company building it to “voluntarily pause” action on a wider span that an American Indian tribe says holds sacred artifacts.
The government’s order came minutes after a judge rejected a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction of the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline.
The tribe, whose cause has drawn thousands to join their protest, has challenged the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits at more than 200 water crossings for the pipeline. Tribal leaders allege it violates several federal laws and will harm water supplies. The tribe also alleges that ancient sites have been disturbed during construction.
This pipeline is planned to go under the Missouri, which feeds water to communities down stream, white, brown, first people. The Missouri ultimately ends up in the Mississippi and goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
We had a chance to talk to several people during this event. Dan was the first one. He was playing a Yadaki, a wind instrument, that has a role in the live of first people’s. He told us that “ It was gifted to Mr. Yadaki on a walkabout by the spirits. It allows him to bring the spirit world and this world in one.” When it is played. “it allows people to hear something that they have not heard before.”
We also talked about big oil of course. The Yakaki was our way and introduction into the spirituality of the event. “This is not just a local fight. This is for all indigenous people around the world. Because when big oil pollutes the last stream, not in America, but in South America, in Europe and Asia, when all the water is polluted. Al the air is stale; all the land has been decimated, where are we at that point?”
This question hung over the gathering, and he was not alone.
We also spoke with Elizabeth Perez, of the North Fork Rancheria, she is from the Mono tribe, and a United Staes Navy Veteran. She also is proud that three generations of her family have served in the armed forces. In 2013 she was honored at the White House for her Climate Change advocacy, and “advancing clean energy technology.”
“This matters, this is my life growing up. This is what my grandmother taught me. This is who we are. What I ask America…if you care about climate change, social injustice, humanity… what is happening at Standing Rock and what is happening in Native American reservations across America is a similar story, different locations.”
She also added that what is happening at Standing Rock deserves the attention of the country, because it is not a first people’s issue, but an American issue. This will affect a lot of people long term. She is correct, that this story has not received enough attention.
Rick Trujillo also spoke to Reporting San Diego. He spoke about how science is now supporting “all the tribes in the Americas, from Mohawk, to Maya to Mapuche, because water, life, the substance of our evolution is so important that people put aside their differences. And it is fitting that in the Dakotas the Sioux Tribe has taken up the challenge with allies from everywhere. And the more the authorities attack them the more people come.”
He added, “The indigenous people in the Dakotas, 100 tribes we know now, are facing the most powerful military in the world. And the whole world is learning a lesson. Of course we are people. They put out news like violence broke out. It’t not on our side, They brought out the guard dogs.”
Trujillo is speaking of the private security that on Saturday were unleashed on a peaceful demonstration. The company was GS 4, formerly known as Pinkerton. Amy Goodman from Democracy Now recorded this in full detail and you can go watch it here.
Trujillo noted now peaceful things were there, and in San Diego, and how this will reach Oaxaca and other indigenous fights.
Once the events started Billy Wallace, a member of the Barona Band, spoke and served as MC. He spoke about how the elders need the youth to take over. He also spoke of the historic nature of what is happening at Standing Rock. This is, and he cited Denis and Elder of the tribe, the most important event for First People’s rights since Wounded Knee in 1973. We are embedding quite a bit of video of what happened this morning. The video also includes an interview with Dennis. I apologize for some of the sound in advance.
We would also like to mention the tribes who were present, these were the Kumeyaay, both Ipai and Tipai, the Pechanga people, the Pala Indians, Luiseño, and Mojave, as well as Moro. They all wore yellow arm bands, since that signified the Southwest Native peoples, since events like today were related across the country. They were joined by the San Diego 350 contingent as well as other allies. When we left, there were over 400 people, but they were not all together, but taken over corners, the median and the streets around the Federal and by extension Superior Court. They are both across each other.
Here is the statement from the Department of Justice in full
Joint Statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior Regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”
We are including a gallery