Sep 13, 2016 - The Seattle City Council Passes Resolution Supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition the Dakota Access Pipeline
Seattle, WA – On September 9, 2016, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Seattle becomes the latest non-Tribal government to support the Tribe’s efforts and affirm the Tribe’s treaty rights, tribal sovereignty and the protection of Native peoples lands, waters, cultural and sacred sites. Earlier, the Seattle Mayor issued a letter of support to the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Over the past three years, the Seattle City Council, in working with the urban Native population and the surrounding Tribal Nations has passed a series of resolutions in support of Native peoples. In 2014, the passed the Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution in replace of Columbus Day. This year marks the 3rd annual citywide Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration. In 2015, they passed a resolution calling on the Federal Government to engage in reconciliation with Tribes over the Boarding School Era policies.
Today’s resolution further proclaimed that this years Indigenous Peoples’ Day be done in commemoration and in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The resolution was drafted and edited by Matt Remle, Gabe Galanda, Chris Stearns, and Fawn Sharp and sponsored by council members Debora Juarez and Kshama Sawant. Tribal leaders from Tulalip, the Spokane Tribe, and Alaska gave testimony.
Theresa Sheldon Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors addresses the Seattle City Council. Photo by Chris Stearns
Millie Kennedy and Audrey Hudson, Tribal Chairwoman and Mayor of the Metlakatla Indian Community. Photo by Millie Kennedy
Photo by Stephanie Masterman
Text of resolution
WHEREAS, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline being developed by of Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliates, which would carry as much as 570,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude from western North Dakota to Illinois; and
WHEREAS, the DAPL would run across or beneath 209 rivers, creeks and tributaries, including the Missouri River, which provides drinking water and irrigates agricultural land in communities across the Midwest, serving nearly 10 million people; and
WHEREAS, the DAPL would also run through the ancestral lands and waters reserved for the traditional use of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by the Treaty of Ft. Laramie, including the Missouri River, burial grounds and gravesites, and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and
WHEREAS, Indian Treaties such as the Treaty of Ft. Laramie are recognized by the U.S. Constitution as “the supreme law of the land,” and require consultation and cooperation by the United States with its Indian Treaty partner before any federal action is taken that affects Treaty lands, territories, waters or other resources; and
WHEREAS, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 affirms the need to “protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions,” particularly in American Indian sacred places; and
WHEREAS, Washington State recognizes that American Indian burial grounds and historic graves are “a finite, irreplaceable, and nonrenewable cultural resource, and are an intrinsic part of the cultural heritage of the people of Washington” (RCW 27.44.030);
WHEREAS, Articles, 11, 12, and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), as endorsed by the United States in 2010, affirms that indigenous peoples like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe possess the right to maintain and protect their culture, religion, practices, and relationship with their “traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories [and] waters”; and
WHEREAS, the UNDRIP Article 32 further provides that governments shall consult with indigenous peoples “in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources”; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council proclaimed in 2012 by Resolution 31420 that Seattle is a Human Rights City and is committed to promoting human rights; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31538 in 2014 to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Seattle, in recognition of “the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States” and in “honor [of] our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions”; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult with or obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as required by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, Executive Order 13175, the UNDRIP Article 10, and other federal and international laws, before issuing a “Mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact” that would result in an easement for horizontal directional drilling for the DAPL; and
WHEREAS, any spill of oil into the Missouri River would irreparably harm the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Treaty reserved lands, territories, waters and other resources; burial grounds, gravesites and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and spiritual relationships and indigenous ways of life; and
WHEREAS, the Mayor of the City of Seattle, City Councils of Portland, Oregon, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians comprised of 59 Indian Nations in the Northwest, and nearly 200 Indian Nations, are among the governmental bodies that have taken formal action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and oppose the DAPL; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
Section 1. The City of Seattle stands in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites.
Section 2. The City of Seattle calls upon the United States and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, prior to taking any federal action regarding the DAPL that would harm or destroy the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites.
Section 3. The City of Seattle proclaims that October 10, 2016, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Seattle, will commemorate and support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the DAPL.