November 16, 2016
This letter is in response to the Standing Rock Sioux’s call for statements of support. We encourage our members and partner organizations to write your own letters, sign a petition addressed to President Obama to permanently halt Dakota Access Pipeline construction here, and donate to the cause here.
To the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in particular:
We at Alternate ROOTS – a coalition of Southern artists, activists, and cultural organizers – are writing to share our full, unflagging support with all those who have gathered at Standing Rock to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Alternate ROOTS’ mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art, in all its forms, which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition, or spirit. As a coalition of cultural workers we strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression, and are committed to social, and economic justice, and the protection of the natural world.
The courage, commitment, dignity, and strong sense of community rising up from the Oceti Sakowin Camp inspires us to continue the work of social, environmental, racial, and economic justice in our home communities, as we stand in solidarity with you. You are standing up to multi-national corporations as well as federal, state, and local governments, and you are winning. You are manifesting badly needed change in our world, change that will reverberate far beyond this moment.
Ashley Minner (Baltimore, MD), member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and former member of ROOTS’ Executive Committee shared this statement: “The American Indian community of Baltimore stands with Standing Rock. Our prayers are with the water protectors. Now reeling with the devastation in Eastern North Carolina, the tribal homeland of much of our community, it’s perhaps more clear than ever that #waterislife. Life and death are sealed up in our relationship to water. We are the hope of our ancestors and the protectors of our descendants. We see it as our duty to stand in solidarity.”
Kim Pevia (Robeson County, NC), also a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a current member of our Executive Committee wrote: “Just one month ago, my community was devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Having recently witnessed the results of having too much (flooding) and too little (no access to drinking water), the word water has become visceral for me. An energetic reaction in my body as it is for many here in the Lumbee Community and other surrounding Native communities. I remember the faces of those who experienced both, and the stories still pour forth. I implore us to be reminded of our essential connection to water. We must protect it. We, in this community, stand in solidarity with the water keepers at Standing Rock.”
This land and water is sacred, and must be treated as such. Indigenous sovereignty and treaties must be honored; and when they are threatened we must all raise our voices. The legacy we leave our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren must guide our every action. We share these values with you, and stand with you in this fight.
With gratitude and in solidarity,
Alternate ROOTS Staff and Executive Committee