Tag Archives: Janet Alkire

Standing Strong

As the Memorial Day weekend unfolds, we simply relay the most recent message from Standing Rock Chairwoman Janet Alkire, regarding recent pipeline strategy:

We are preparing, once again, for battle. In 2016 and 2017, the NoDAPL camps here at Standing Rock grew to encompass tens of thousands of people and created an explosion of awareness of our Indigenous struggle on the frontlines of the water and climate crises. By standing strong together, we captured the world’s attention and ignited a powerful movement for Native and environmental justice. Now, as we ready to re-engage the legal fight to end the Dakota Access pipeline, it remains critical that we act with unity and purpose. In that spirit, I invite you to watch Standing Strong Together, the fourteenth chapter of our Dakota Water Wars video series, co-produced by Standing Rock Nation in partnership with the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance and Lakota People’s Law Project.

The video highlights a recent pipeline strategy meeting we held at Standing Rock. Watched over by our ancestors, tribal leaders and water protectors gathered to discuss a new coordinated offensive, including a lawsuit and public comments barrage to challenge DAPL’s soon-to-be-released Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Just last week, we held another meeting with Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. We now have clarity that the EIS will become available for public comment at the end of June.

And that’s where you come in. We will need to flood the Army Corps with public feedback demanding a valid EIS. We already know this one, written by a firm beholden to Big Extraction, will be worthless. (The company hired to prepare the current EIS is a member of the American Petroleum Institute and argued against us at a DAPL hearing!)

It’s past time for the government to force compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and stop the flow of oil through this illegally operational pipeline. As it has been since the very beginning of this movement, our fight is your fight. By stopping DAPL, and by opposing every incursion onto sacred lands by the fossil fuel industry, we can protect our communities and the Earth and water we all share. Your voice, and all voices, will be critical. Please stand strong together with us.

Mni Wiconi. Water is life!

Janet Alkire
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe




Marginalized and Muted

With “Independence Day” upon us, unspooling the usual vaingloriously selective memory pageant, we serve to relay a recent missive from the honorable Janet Alkire, Chairwoman of the Standing Rock Sioux, with a link to a recent video.


If you’ve been following our email updates for the past couple months, I hope you’re getting some valuable new perspectives on the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) from our “Dakota Water Wars” series, co-produced by Standing Rock in conjunction with the Oceti Sakowin, the Great Plains Water Alliance, and the Lakota People’s Law Project. Today, I invite you to take in our fifth installment: Ignoring Tribes and Ignoring Laws.



Here’s the bottom line: little has changed since the colonizers arrived on the shores of Turtle Island more than 500 years ago. Our voices are neither heard nor respected, and, whether the issue of the day is resource depletion or extraction, the consequences for our people are never considered important by the U.S. government. But there are always consequences.

We have been removed, relocated, reeducated, and killed. Our rivers have been poisoned, and our animal relatives brought to the edge of extinction and beyond. The same patterns repeat again and again, and still we remain marginalized and muted.

But it’s not only we who are ignored; there are also laws. Good laws that affect our people have, on occasion, been passed, including the Indian Child Welfare Act (which is now under attack at the Supreme Court). But, too often, when an opportunity arises to take our children or extract the next resource, like the toxic Bakken crude oil flowing through DAPL, the colonizer finds ways around his own laws. Or, perhaps, he breaks them knowing he’ll get away with it, especially if the groups most adversely affected are Native.

That’s exactly what happened with DAPL. During our lawsuit to stop the pipeline, the Department of Justice argued that tribal input wasn’t required. The judge disagreed, saying that denying our ability to refute the oil company’s specious claims means DAPL remains “highly controversial under NEPA.” Since the National Environmental Policy Act is there in part to regulate impacts of projects like this one, the oil company is ignoring not just us, but also the law. Sadly, though, there have been no consequences for the oil company, because the U.S. government has abdicated its responsibility to enforce its own laws.

That’s why I continue to make sure you’re aware of what’s happening, and it’s why I’m pressuring federal agencies to hold up their end of the bargain. It’s up to all of us to keep fighting. As our elder, Phyllis Young, says in the video: we must define and instill a new culture of mutual respect, mutual participation, and mutual benefit.

Wopila tanka.

Thank you for watching, reading, and standing with Standing Rock.

Janet Alkire
ChairwomanStanding Rock Sioux Tribe