On October 3rd, 2016 the Spokane city Council passed a resolution to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, and the people who are actively opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River and ancestral tribal lands. This project has put tribal waters, sacred burials and ancestral lands at risk of oil spills. The project reflects the ongoing push to put oil profits and global markets ahead of indigenous values, by externalizing the costs of oil transportation to local people and environments. The Spokane Riverkeeper stands with this historic and momentous opposition. We made the following comments at the City Council Meeting on Monday night, October 3rd. Thanks to the Spokane City Council, the Spokane Tribe, and to all who testified in support of this resolution. Thanks also, to those folks, like Jacob Johns and others, who have traveled out to North Dakota to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. The Resolution passed with all but two council members voting for 2016-0079. #WaterIsLife
Spokane Riverkeeper testimony favor of Resolution 2016-0079 given at the Spokane City Council meeting October 3, 2016 (my comments to the council were condensed in the verbal testimony)
“Thanks Council President Stuckart, Spokane city Council for bringing resolution 2016-0079 forward.
I am the Spokane Riverkeeper and I bring a simple message of support for resolution 2016-0079. The Spokane Riverkeeper is a member of the Global Waterkeeper Alliance. The Water keeper movement began as a movement of local fishermen on the Hudson River who fought corporate polluters, and the destruction of their local fisheries by corporate power. Today, we are joined by many indigenous waterkeepers working across the earth behalf of the public and local populations to protect their sacred and unique waterways.
It is only right that we ask the City of Spokane to support the Standing Rock Tribe in calling for the halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Indeed the indigenous Peoples worldwide from Borneo to Lapland, are now calling for the support of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the halt of this pipeline near sacred burials and the waters of the Missouri River. This makes sense for the following reasons:
1. The people of the Standing Rock Tribe are now facing a situation in which their local, unique and treaty endowed rights is being threatened for corporate profit. This scenario is being played out across the earth and is both unjust and immoral. We need to put a stop to the continued destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures through the destruction of lands of natural resources.
2. The City of Spokane is in a unique situation to understand and the plight of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Spokane now has many trains a week traveling through our city and we have little control over the price that may finally be exacted from our river and our community. We should feel and express solidarity with communities in parallel situations.
3. Water is Life. This resolution supports the idea that the pillars of water and culture are actually more important than corporate profits. Respecting and valuing water – and our connections to that water is idea whose day is now here. We are at a turning point in history wherein if we continue to risk, degrade and waste our children’s precious water, we will – and our children will – find ourselves living in a world of poverty. A world bereft of the gifts like clean water, and healthy rivers –a gift that we currently too often take for granted.
I urge you to support the Standing Rock Sioux by passing this resolution and send a powerful message that the world’s waters are not for sale – that the worlds indigenous cultures and the Earth that underpins all of us, deserve respect. After all it is indigenous peoples from Laos to Lapland to the first nations of the Columbia River that are holding up the wisdom of caring for the places we live, and the waters that support and sustain us. – Spokane Riverkeeper
Language of the resolution passed By the Spokane City Council on October 3, 2016.
RESOLUTION NO. 2016-0079
A Resolution expressing solidarity with Indigenous protest in opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
WHEREAS, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would carry as many
as 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day for more than 1,100 miles from the oil fields of
North Dakota to Illinois, crossing more than 200 rivers, creeks, and tributaries, including
the Missouri River, which provides drinking water across the Midwest and serves
around 10 million people; and
WHEREAS, despite opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, more than
30 environmental advocacy groups, as well as other tribes along the proposed route,
and without environmental review as required by federal law, in July 2016 the U.S.,
Army Corps of Engineers issued a “mitigated finding of no significant impact” that would
permit construction of the pipeline to move forward; and
WHEREAS, on August 15, 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council called
on Tribal nations and Indigenous people around the world to issue resolutions in
support of the Standing Rock Sioux and the Sacred Stones Camp; and
WHEREAS, Washington State recognizes that American Indian burial grounds
and historic graves are “a finite, irreplaceable, and nonrenewable cultural resource, and
are an intrinsic part of the cultural heritage of the people of Washington” (RCW
WHEREAS, any oil spill into the Missouri River would irreparably harm the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lands, burial grounds, waters, and other sites of cultural,
religious, and historical significance; and
WHEREAS, the City Councils of Seattle and Bellingham, Washington; Portland,
Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Lawrence, Kansas; Cleveland, Ohio; and St. Paul and
Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, comprised of 59
Indian Nations in the Northwest; and nearly 200 Indian Nations; are among the
governmental bodies that have taken formal action to support the Standing Rock Sioux
Tribe and oppose the DAPL.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SPOKANE CITY COUNCIL
that the City of Spokane stands in solidarity with any and all peaceful opposition to the
construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and urges the residents of Spokane to help
raise awareness of this important struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and
Passed by the City Council this ____ day of September, 2016. (October 3rd, 2016)