Jun 092017
 
 June 9, 2017

Title: UAW Local 4121 Resolution in Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Co-authors: Dianne Baumann, Sandy Littletree, Andrea Canini, Sam Sumpter, J. Elizabeth Mills, David Parsons

Date: November 10, 2016

WHEREAS, we the members of United Auto Workers Local 4121 (hereafter known as UAW Local 4121) represent 4,500 academic student employees (hereafter known as ASEs) working as TAs, RAs, Readers, Graders, Tutors, and Staff Assistants on all three University of Washington (hereafter known as UW) campuses (Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell); and

WHEREAS, UW is one of the largest state employers, UW receives funding from the state of Washington, and UW provides jobs to ASEs, including Native and Indigenous students; and

WHEREAS, UW acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations; 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, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe strongly opposes the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline being developed by Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliates, which would carry as much as 570,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil from western North Dakota to Illinois, and 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 threatens the ancestral lands and waters reserved for the traditional use of the sovereign nation of the Standing Rock Sioux 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, 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 Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their allies from across the United States have been peacefully rallying against the DAPL, calling for supporters to voice their concerns, surrounded by hundreds of tribes and organizations who are resolutely standing in solidarity; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of unarmed Water Protectors, who are exercising their First Amendment rights, have been met with extreme police brutality, including the use of dogs, tear gas, pepper spray, concussion grenades, tasers, rubber bullets used by officers in riot gear and armored personnel carriers; and

WHEREAS, while Native Americans make up about 0.9% of the United States population, they account for 1.9% of those killed at the hands of police; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that we the members of the UAW Local 4121 acknowledge the existence of the oppression Native/Indigenous peoples continue to face; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we the members of the UAW Local 4121 understand that, while the DAPL would have lasting, detrimental effects on the environment, it is more than an environmental problem, and the NO DAPL movement is more than an environmental movement; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we the members of the UAW Local 4121 acknowledge that those participating in the event are not protesters but protectors; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we the members of the UAW Local 4121 will report the peacefulness of the movement, despite the violence and the police brutality the Water Protectors are facing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this act is to protect our Mother Earth for the seven generations—not a selfish act or protest; and be it further

RESOLVED that we stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and will partner with other organizations on protests and mobilization efforts, where appropriate, to show solidarity with and support for these movements against the DAPL; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we the members of UAW Local 4121 strongly urge the UW to publicly join us in standing in solidarity with UW Native and Indigenous students and the Northwest tribes in their efforts; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe; to the University of Washington Native Organization of Indigenous Scholars; to President Ana Mari Cauce and the University of Washington Administration; to the UW Native American Advisory Board; to the membership of UAW Local 4121; to the local media outlets; and to others as appropriate.