As a member of the Permanent Forum, I will be traveling to North Dakota tomorrow at the invitation of the Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault to further observe and investigate the situation there, including the increase in law enforcement and military in the areas along with over a hundred arrests and other forms of violence that have been reported. I will report my findings back to the Permanent Forum and I hope to be able play a role in making recommendations to all parties that respect the rights affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the United States now supports.”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) has also extended an invitation to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of indigenous Peoples, which is currently in process.
A primary concern expressed by the SRST is the potential devastating effects on the Missouri River, its primary water source. In his letter inviting Grand Chief Edward John dated today, October 28th, 2016 Chairman Archambault expressed the urgency of the situation facing the Tribe: “Currently, we are experiencing violence and intimidation from state law enforcement, private security as well as the North Dakota National Guard which are moving to forcibly remove us from our encampment located on unceded Treaty lands. Over 120 arrests have been made in the last two days, and tear gas, mace, compression grenades and other forms of violence have been used against tribal members and our supporters representing over 300 US Native Nations who are peacefully protecting our human, environmental, and cultural and Treaty rights. Our Tribe can no longer sacrifice our sacred water, our graves and our Mother Earth, and our future generations for the financial gain of private industry which has shown no regard for our rights or concerns.”