Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

Letter: #NoDAPL and the struggle for Native rights

Joe Catron/Flickr

Joe Catron/Flickr

To the Editor:

The Dakota Access Pipeline is the latest chapter in a long war of colonial violence against Native Americans – a war that has been ongoing since first contact and largely waged without interruption.

The pipeline has created a groundswell of resistance, bringing together the largest coalition of native tribes in over 100 years, led by members of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies.  Beginning in April, the self-identified Water Protectors have formed two camps, Sacred Stone and Red Warrior, to oppose the construction of the pipeline and defend their right to self-determination.

The movement on the ground has made it clear: This is the final straw, and they are not going anywhere. The camps, and the global #NoDAPL solidarity movement they have spurred, have coalesced around the rallying cry of indigenous leaders: Mni Wiconi, or “Water is Life.”

As a group of students committed to climate justice, UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign recognizes that as we take action against the climate crisis, we must center the struggle of those who have been marginalized by the social and economic systems responsible for its creation. This must include the ongoing struggle of Native peoples against cultural and environmental genocide at the hands of the corporate American state. Climate change and the greed of the fossil fuel industry threaten our collective futures, but frontline communities have been waging this struggle for hundreds of years and are facing its violent realities today.

This disparity is illuminated by the fact that the Dakota Access Pipeline was originally proposed to run through the water supply for the predominantly white community of Bismarck. After it was determined that this posed risks to that community’s water, the pipeline was redirected through Native lands, sacred burial sites and water sources. Pipeline construction began in violation of federal treaties and without meaningful consultation from tribal governments or a full environmental impact analysis.

Today, the Standing Rock Sioux express the same concerns as the residents of Bismarck, yet they are being confronted by an increasingly militarized police force and are being arrested en masse. The local Morton County sheriff’s office, along with federal and corporate security forces, continue to attack the nonviolent resistors with rubber bullets, attack dogs and pepper spray. Native voices are being silenced, not heard.

This demonstrates the reality brought to the forefront of public consciousness by the Movement for Black Lives that the police mantra of “protect and serve” does not, and has never, applied to all populations. The police are an agent of discipline and erasure, upholding the principles of settler-colonial capitalism that our nation was founded on.

We must reckon with the ways this erasure is happening in our local institutions and communities: Native American student enrollment at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has almost steadily declined for 17 consecutive years. In our conversations of climate change and social transformation, we must listen to and elevate the voices of indigenous peoples in our communities. We must constantly question whether and how they are being represented in our institutions.

Our solidarity with the Water Protectors at the Sacred Stone and Red Warrior Camps is first and foremost about supporting the fight for self-determination, sovereignty and survival. We hope to mobilize this conviction this Friday, Nov. 4th, from 12 to 4 p.m. when the Native American Student’s Association and Divest UMass host a #NoDAPL Solidarity Farmer’s Market on the Goodell Lawn. There will be an arts and crafts sale, performances by local artists and a “speakout” featuring the voices of Native professors, students and activists. We hope to raise money and consciousness while collectively standing in solidarity with the movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies in North Dakota.

The Water Protectors on the ground at the Sacred Stone and Red Warrior Camp have made a call to action to allies all over the world. The Five College Community can answer this call by donating directly to the camps and by coming to the event on Friday, as well as continuing to spread the word and hold local actions for the #NoDAPL resistance.

Together, we must shut down this pipeline and highlight the long-marginalized voices and experiences of Native Americans in their ancestral homeland.

Signed,

UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign and the Native American Student Association

Comments
2 Responses to “Letter: #NoDAPL and the struggle for Native rights”
  1. Anonymous says:

    As opposed to the EPA that turned a river bright yellow? Lots of nasty heavy metals and other stuff.
    .
    How many Native peoples wound up drinking that toxic brew? (A lot.)
    .
    Why no protests on that?

  2. Andreus says:

    I believe you’re talking about the one North of the Navajo Nation a year ago. The EPA was obviously in the wrong and despite their best efforts (even I have doubts), Navajo Nation will be suffering a major loss along with their citizens. There were protests about it, but it was not on-going, the damage had already done. Fundraisers* likely would not have helped much with that.

Leave A Comment