August 28, 2016 Dena Jensen
Today at 5:34 PM
Dear Whatcom County Council:
First, please accept my sincere gratitude for your efforts, that will help serve to safeguard the lands, waters, life forms, and historic, cultural and spiritual resources at Cherry Point, in issuing your emergency moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area, while the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan Amendments to Chapter 2 Land Use, Cherry Point UGA, proposed by Council Member Weimer are being reviewed by the Whatcom County Planning Commission.
I am also writing you today to make sure you are aware of a Call to Action from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota, who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Here is a link to the preliminary injunction that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed, http://standingrock.org/data/upfiles/media/Memo%20ISO%20Mtn%20for%20Preliminary%20Injunction_3.pdf , and an excerpt from the introduction of that injunction: “An injunction is needed because the ongoing construction of the pipeline, as authorized by the Corps [United States Army Corps of Engineers], will damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe. While the Tribe’s complaint raises issues under multiple statutes, this motion focuses on violations of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”).”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling for support in protecting their sacred lands and waters, and although they are directly requesting support from other Tribal Nations, they are welcoming non-indigenous support as well.
Here is an excerpt of their Call to Action Update from August 24, 2016 (which can be found at this link, along with accompanying links on that page where you can access copies of support letters and resolutions that the Standing Rock Sioux have already received, http://standingrock.org/news/call-to-action-update/):
“Call to Action Update:
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has received notice from 87 Tribal Nations who have officially taken action to support our opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Below are the current lists of those tribes who have sent us signed resolutions and letters of support. We are aware that there are more tribes who may have taken action who we are not aware of yet, and also tribes who have indicated that they will do so. To get your tribes Letter of Support or Resolution to SRST, please email an electronic copy to email@example.com. Mail copies to contact info below. In one week we have garnered support from nearly 1/6th of the tribal nations in the U.S. We will continue to update this list as we move forward and hope that more tribe’s and organizations join our efforts. We welcome non-indigenous support as well. Standing Rock cannot express the gratitude we have for the overwhelming support from both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples here in the United States and globally. We are forever grateful.” (emphasis mine)
So far, as of August 28, 2016, on the “List of Organization Support by Letter” ( http://standingrock.org/linkgen?media_id=1608 ) , although nearly 20% of tribal nations have offered their support, there are only three organizations on the list (that seems to have been last updated on August 24) who are non-indigenous: Orthodox Catholic Church of America, One Billion Rising, and United Methodist Church of the California-Nevada Annual Conference.
On a quick internet search I found other faith organizations (one of them in Canada) that have issued statements of support in the last four days, and relevant to governing bodies joining in solidarity with Standing Rock, the city of St. Paul Minnesota has issued a resolution and the city of Seattle has issued a letter of support in opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline construction across Standing Rock Sioux treaty territory.
I am seeking to challenge you members of our Whatcom County Council, and other non-indigenous organizations to join in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, to potentially send letters of support and/or resolutions to them, and/or appeal to the United States Army Corps of Engineers and other government agencies and representatives to take action regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline that will uphold treaty rights, protect invaluable water resources, along with sacred lands, life forms, and historic, cultural and spiritual resources. I ask for your support in this way, and that you reach out to other organizations that you know of to request they offer their support as well.
Here is the contact information for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:
Steve Sitting Bear
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
External Affairs Director
PO Box D, Bldg #1, N. Standing Rock Ave
Fort Yates ND, 58538
Thank you once again for your ongoing efforts to protect our planet for our future generations.
Addresses for Whatcom County Council:
I also sent a similar letter (below) to the Bellingham City Council. Feel free to use part or all of this letter to offer more encouragement to these and other agencies and organizations to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. There are only a couple places (in the greeting and also in the paragraph prior to the contact information for the Standing Rock Sioux) where you will need to change “Bellingham City Council” to the name of the organization you are addressing in your own letters.