Over the last few months, many of us have been moved by following the powerful movement of indigenous leaders defending sacred land, and the earth and water we all share, from the threat of the dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline. In recent days, we have also watched with horror as our computer screens have increasingly filled with images of brutal aggression against and mass arrests of the courageous Water Protectors leading the #NoDAPL encampments in Standing Rock, ND. We have also been heartened by the reports of Rev. Karen Van Fossan, Minister at the UU Fellowship & Church of Bismarck-Mandan, who has been on the ground offering solidarity to indigenous leaders and amplifying their call for people of faith to mobilize public support for this struggle.
In a statement from Karen, issued via with our friends at Standing on the Side of Love yesterday, she writes: “We need you and we need you now. People of faith and conscience are being called to take immediate action and come to Standing Rock in solidarity. Unarmed water protectors have been met with militarized responses at every step. There is an opportunity for us to show up and affirm this prayerful movement. A movement calling for direct action to center Indigenous communities’ autonomy, history and spirituality. A movement working to ensure our collective future.”
There is also a specific call for clergy to join a faith-filled action in Standing Rock next Thursday, November 3rd, described in more detail here.
Whether you are in a position to travel to Standing Rock, to put pressure on decision-makers, or to donate to meet direct needs on the ground, we hope you will find a way to take action, and to ground your efforts in learning about and reflection upon the history of colonialism and systemic oppression of First Nations that we see continuing today.
As our friends at MUUSJA have reminded us through their #NoDAPL solidarity work:
Our Unitarian Universalist faith teaches us that we are all inextricably and radically interdependent; that we are part of an interconnected web of existence that encompasses all creatures and the earth. Following those deeply held theological values, in 2012, the UUA General Assembly passed a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, calling UUs to work in solidarity with native communities and to make reparations for the impacts of colonization, genocide, land theft, and continuing harms perpetrated against indigenous peoples. If we are to follow through with our pledge, we must acknowledge that we are called to show up in solidarity with our indigenous kin to protect the earth that gives us life, and to resist the legacy of colonization and genocide of the native peoples on whose land we all live.
The time is now. Please join us in taking action today.