Oct 25, 2016 - Standing Rock Chairman Archambault Delivers Speech at NC USET Assembly By Maleaha Brings Plenty
CHEROKEE, NC – On the morning of Oct. 24, USET (United South and Eastern Tribes) had a meeting on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. There were many representatives from a number of different southeastern tribes, but one of the invited speakers made an incredibly impactful and meaningful speech. This speaker was Chairman David Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Chairman Archambault spoke about a pressing issue that has been causing some conversations in not only Indian Country, but all across the nation. He spoke about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). “This movement is about the Missouri River, and that’s our home, that’s where we live. It’s a real easy and simple concept; save our water”.
With everything happening on the reservation and on the camp out in Standing Rock, he said, “We always felt like there was nothing we can do. It [the camp] helped me realize that there was something we can do and that if we make enough noise, we can make a change”.
Despite the fact that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its people stand very strongly in their beliefs and protests, there have been attempts to distract the protestors and everybody else from what is happening. “Who are we fighting? What’s their agenda? I look at what they’re doing and I see they’re trying to distract us from protecting the water. Soon, we’re talking about police brutality and treaties. There’s so much distraction”.
And, while he supports the protests, he says, “We’re days away from confrontation” and that they’ve been “trying to stop this from happening.”
Chairman Archambault added, “They [the oil company] figured out how to divide us, how to separate us so they can conquer us.”
He recognized and thanked everybody for their support of the tribe. “There’s been a lot of support from Native people, or indigenous people.” “We built awareness and now we have a chance. It’s not because of social media or the camp, but because of your support and your prayers. We have a chance to make a difference”.
Chairman Archambault said that he was thankful for everybody’s support and that Indian country needs to come together and work together. He advocated for camaraderie among Indian country. “We have to learn to forgive, put our differences aside, and come together to make it [Indian country] a better place.”
Maleaha Brings Plenty (Eastern Band Cherokee/Oglala Lakota), 14, is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and resides on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.