NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. at Standing Rock encampment. Photo by Walter Lamar
Published September 9, 2016
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, September 8, 2016, the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) pledged its solidarity in support of the Standing Rock Sioux and friends of Indian Country on the frontlines of the Sacred Stone and Warrior camps resisting the Dakota Access pipeline.
The National Indian Gaming Association also strongly condemns the recent use of violence by security officers against our brothers and sisters who are defending and protecting our precious Mother Earth.
In support of our warriors of Indian Country, Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. (Oneida) joined the “spirit camp” where hundreds have descended near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers in the Northern Great Plain in opposition of the Dakota Access pipeline.
“We remain resolute and firm in our commitment and support of the Standing Rock Sioux in protecting and defending their sacred lands. The images of our Native brothers and sisters being attacked as police stood by idly is one that invokes America’s shameful history in its treatment of our ancestors and other people of color. This is simply not acceptable.” Chairman Stevens said.
The 1,168-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline threatens an area of cultural and spiritual significance of the Standing Rock Sioux as well as endangers the tribal drinking water supply. In July, the Army Corps of Engineers approved the oil pipeline to transport crude oil from the Bakken area to a pipeline hub in Illinois. The line would cross the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock reservation, thus disturbing sacred spots and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux and likely contaminating the tribe’s water supply. The tribe filed a motion to stop construction of the pipeline because it was not properly consulted prior to the Army Corp’s decision to fast-track approval of the pipeline.
On Saturday, September 3, 2016, on a holiday weekend just days after the tribe filed court papers identifying the sacred sites, Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, bulldozed sacred tribal burial grounds and caused irreparable harm to our Native brothers and sisters.
The company also employed private security forces who pepper sprayed our brothers and sisters and used dogs to attack them as they peacefully stood firm in protecting their sovereign interest in protecting their cultural resources and patrimony that remains with the land.
Because of the atrocious actions and attacks of the security company, on Sunday, the tribe filed for an emergency restraining order to prevent the company from destroying more sacred sites.