"We Can't Afford to Be Complacent." One WFAN Member's Standing Rock Reflection.
by Patti J. Edwardson WFAN Board Member
[This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Perry (Iowa) News on Nov. 29, 2016.]
During the weekend of Oct. 21-23, I had the immense honor of visiting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota to march in solidarity with those working to protect their water, land and sovereignty as they resist the Dakota Access Pipeline, the same pipeline being constructed diagonally across Iowa.
From my position of white privilege and with my middle-class perspective, I was deeply humbled by the peaceful, prayerful actions of the people of Standing Rock and was reminded of the historic struggles this fight is built upon.
Even as I write this, I know my words are not the words the world needs to hear to understand this struggle. My purpose in relaying my insignificant experience is to help bring awareness to central Iowans as to what our Native neighbors are fighting for and why — and to encourage readers to learn more and to take action.
My experience at the Oceti Sakowin camp, from rising at 5:30 a.m. to the gentle but persistent call for all to come to the sacred fire and prayer ceremony to participating in the action of the day alongside water protectors, was one that cannot leave me complacent.
Through prayer and nonviolent actions, the men, women and children of Standing Rock and their hundreds of indigenous, Native and non-native supporters showed me how people can come together to change our world for the better.
However, these water protectors are up against a powerful oil industry backed by a militarized police force, and they are putting their own bodies and lives on the line.
The concerns of the people of Standing Rock go deep. While the pipeline puts at risk the waters of the Missouri River, the main drinking source for the reservation, even more unthinkable is that the pipeline is going through their sacred ancestral burial grounds.
Construction is tearing through land that was granted to the Sioux in the Treaty of 1851 and taken away only a few years later as the Standing Rock Reservation was reduced in size.
The historical significance of this pipeline and the way it reinforces and perpetuates the indignities, mistreatment and injustices that the Native peoples of this country have endured is at the heart of this protest.
This fight is a continuation of the fight for the sovereignty of Native peoples, for the right to determine the water they drink and the food they eat, and the right to self-government that affects their culture, their traditions and their future generations.
This struggle has much in common with the struggles of indigenous and native peoples around the world.
At the Oceti Sakowin camp and throughout the prayerful, peaceful actions, I witnessed people who were not only tenacious and determined but also joyful and welcoming. Despite the escalating militarization of law enforcement and the knowledge that infiltrators could be among them, spirits of the water protectors remained high.
They refused to give in to fear. They continued to pray and believed they can change the hearts and minds of those in power to stop this pipeline.
For all of us concerned about a just society, the sovereignty of indigenous and Native peoples everywhere, and a livable planet for future generations, we cannot afford to be complacent. Support for the actions of the water protectors in North Dakota is necessary to stop this pipeline and begin a new era of renewable energy.
We can stop the violence enacted on unarmed civil disobedient demonstrators, here and around the world, by militarized law enforcement who are protecting the profits of an extractive and destructive industry. We can dismantle colonialism, neoliberal policies and the capitalistic logic that takes away the rights of people and destroys natural resources in the name of economic progress.
The time is critical. The pipeline is nearly finished. Here in Iowa, as I write, drilling problems have delayed the laying of the pipe under the Des Moines River. Questions arise as to the increased risks these problems will pose if oil is ever pumped under this river.
In North Dakota, drilling is about to begin under the great Missouri River unless the Army Corps of Engineers calls for a halt.
What can you do? Call President Obama today, and tell him to de-escalate the militarization against these peaceful protectors, to immediately send Justice Department observers and to immediately enforce law to stop Dakota Access from construction: White House (202) 456-1111.
Patti Edwardson Churdan
Below are resources to learn more about this issue, to divest from financial institutions that support this project and to donate to Standing Rock:
About Standing Rock and the DAPL:
Oceti Sakowin camp: https://www.paypal.me/OcetiSakowinCamp Water Protector Legal Collective: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/11B5z8 Medics: https://medichealercouncil.com/donate/ Sacred Stone Camp donation page: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
The following 17 banks are directly funding DAPL:
Wells Fargo* CEO Timothy J. Sloan firstname.lastname@example.org BoardCommunications@wellsfargo.com 866-249-3302 Customer service: 844-931-2273 Corporate Office: Wells Fargo 420 Montgomery Street San Francisco, CA 94104
BNP Paribas* CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe email@example.com Corporate Office: 3 rue d’Antin 75002 Paris, France 00-33-157-082-200 U.S. Office: 787 Seventh Avenue – The Equitable Tower New York, NY 10019 212-841-3000
SunTrust* CEO William H. Rodgers Jr. Corporate Office: 303 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 800-786-8787 Chief Communications Officer: Sue Mallino 404-813-0463 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ* Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano CEO and President Takashi Oyamada Corporate Office: 2-7-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan 81-3-3240-8111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1104 212-782-4000
Mizuho Bank* President and CEO Nobuhide Hayashi Corporate Office: Otemachi Tower 1-5-5, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8176, Japan 81-3-3214-1111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 212-282-3000
Citibank (CitiGroup)* CEO Michael Corbat Michael.L.Corbat@citi.com 212-793-1201 Corporate Office: 388 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013 Phone: 800-285-3000 and 212-793-0710
TD Securities* Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance Corporate Office: P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower 66 Wellington Street W Toronto, Ontario M5K 1A2 Investment Banking: 416-307-8500 Equity Research: 416-307-9360 Trading Floor Enquiries: 416-944-6978 U.S. Office: 31 West 52nd Street New York, NY 10019-6101 212-827-7000
Credit Agricole* CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet Office: 12, Place des Etats-Unis Montrouge, France 92545 33-1-43-23-52-02 U.S. Office: 1301 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 email@example.com
Intesa SanPaolo* CEO Carlo Messina Corporate Office: Piazza San Carlo, 156 10121 Torino, Italy 39-011-555-1 Corporate Social Responsibility Unit: 39-02-8796-3435 CSR@intesasanpaolo.com firstname.lastname@example.org
ING Bank* CEO and Executive Board Chairman Ralph A.J.G Hamers Wholesale Banking, Operations & IT, Sustainability, Corporate Governance: Carolien van der Giessen email@example.com 31-20-576-63-86Head of Media Relations: Raymond Vermuelen firstname.lastname@example.org 31-20-576-63-69 Corporate Office: Amsterdamse Poort Bijlmerplein 888 1102 MG Amsterdam The Netherlands 31-20-5639111 Mailing Address: ING Bank N.V. P.O. Box 1800 1000 BV Amsterdam The Netherlands U.S. Office: ING Financial Holdings LLC 1325 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 646-424-6000
Natixis* CEO Pierre Servant Corporate Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, S.A. 21 quai d’Austerlitz 75634 Paris Cedex 13, France 33-1-78-40-90-00 U.S. Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, L.P. 399 Boylston Street Boston, MA 617-449-2100
BayernLB* CEO Johannes-Jorg Riegler Head of Communications: Matthias Priwitzer Matthias.Priwitzer@bayernlb.de 49-89-2171-21255 Corporate Office: Brienner Straße 18 80333 Munich 49-89-2171-27176 U.S. Office: 560 Lexington Avenue New York City, NY 10022 212-310-9800
BBVA Securities* CEO Carlos Torres Villa Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez Corporate Office: Calle Azul, 4 28050 Madrid, Spain 34-902-22-44-66
DNB Capital* U.S. office: 200 Park Avenue, 31st Floor New York, N.Y. 10166-0396 212-681-3800
ICBC London* CEO and Managing Director Jin Chen Corporate Office: 20 Gresham Street London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom 44-203-145-5000 U.S. Office: 520 Madison Avenue 28th Floor New York, NY 10022 212-407-5000
SMBC Nikko Securities* President and CEO Yoshihiko Shimizu Corporate Office: 3-1, Marunouchi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8325, Japan 81-3-5644-3111
Societe General* CEO Frederic Oudea https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredericoudea Chiarman of the Board Lorenzo Bini Smaghi email@example.com Corporate Office: Paris, France 2.0@societegenerale 33-1-42-14-20-00 U.S. Office: 245 Park Avenue New York City, NY 10167 212-278-6000 Contact information for the banks involved in funding the entire Bakken pipeline is available here. They are offering credit lines to the DAPL’s parent companies: Sunoco Logistics, Energy Transfer Partners, and Energy Transfer Equity.