Almost simultaneous with the militarized police raid in North Dakota on Thursday, Native American youths took over the campaign headquarters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn, N.Y., to demand that she oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion oil pipeline not far from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
So far, Clinton has refused to take a stance. “We wanted to bring our songs and prayer to tell [Clinton] that the Native youth of this nation do not want this pipeline,” said Daniel Grassrope of the Lower Brule Sioux Nation to Democracy Now!. The group of dozens set up a teepee in the entrance to Clinton’s office.
“We wanted to demonstrate a cultural event in Hillary’s campaign office,” says Grassrope to Democracy Now!, noting that 11 of the protesters flew in directly from protests in North Dakota. “And we wanted to bring our songs and prayer to tell her to oppose this pipeline, that the youth, the future leaders of this nation and the future occupiers of this nation, do not want this pipeline because it will affect our water.”
Grassrope said that no one in the office would take their letter for Clinton, and no one from the campaign spoke to them.
The letter reads in part:
Thousands of Native Americans from more than 300 tribes spanning the continent have joined with us to stand against this violation of the tribe’s rights under federal laws and regulations. Twenty-one city and county governments have also joined us to stand in opposition to this pipeline, and now we need a commitment from you. We demand this pipeline be stopped. It is our land, it is our water, it is our future.
Now is the time to prove your commitment to both strong climate action and Indigenous sovereignty. Silence is not acceptable, stand with us and oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
As President Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, we urge the new President to be a leader and continue standing up for what is right by rejecting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The First 100 Days is a significant time for you to set the stage—are you with us?
“Everyone in the Native nation knows that water is our first medicine. Water brings life to everything—the plants, the trees, the four-legged, you know, the animals that we eat, everything. It brings life to us, in general,” said Grassrope.
Clinton should welcome speaking out against the pipeline, since her Republican opponent is so heavily invested in it.
The Huffington Post reports that Donald Trump has deep financial ties to the pipeline, that his presidential campaign accepted a $100,000 donation from the CEO of the pipeline company, and that he has at least $500,000 invested in the project.
Literally minutes after the Clinton takeover, police arrested at least 140 protesters on charges including engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire and explosion on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
As previously reported on The Root, more than 100 militarized police in riot gear showed up at a #NoDAPL resistance camp Thursday accompanied by multiple mine-resistant ambush-protected military vehicles, a sound cannon, an armored truck and a bulldozer. Water protectors at the scene reported that the police presence included multiple snipers as well. The officers lined up across North Dakota Highway 1806.