LULAC and GreenLatinos Stand in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
September 13, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota are protesting the construction of a pipeline that would transport nearly half a million barrels of oil daily across their homeland. Security personnel sent by the pipeline construction company responded to these peaceful demonstrators with attack dogs and pepper spray. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an injunction to stop the construction of the pipeline which a federal court denied last week. However, immediately following the judge’s order, the federal government through the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued an order halting the construction of the pipeline until the Army Corps of Engineers reviewed the matter. Roger C. Rocha, Jr., National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights advocacy organization, together with GreenLatinos, a national network of Latino environmental and conservation advocates, issued the following response.
“The use of excessive force, including attack dogs and pepper spray against members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is unacceptable. Tribal protesters were merely protesting the construction of a pipeline near an important water supply which puts at risk the safety and well-being of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Such use of excessive force is unlawful and unconstitutional in that it doesn’t respect a group’s right to protest. The concern raised is real and deserves the attention of the American people. In this area, an oil spill would cause irreparable harm to the tribe’s homeland, including its sacred burial grounds. As civil rights and environmental advocates, we condemn this act of violence against an already marginalized community and stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in opposition to the desecration of culturally significant sites and threats to their public health. We also applaud the recent actions by the Obama administration to halt construction on a portion of the pipeline until the process for eliciting input from tribes and other stakeholders can be further reviewed. We urge the administration to continue to reaffirm its commitment to vitally important environmental justice, civil rights, and public input laws–which the Standing Rock Sioux have continually called for in their opposition to this project."