Black Lives Matter Stands In Solidarity with Water Protectors at Standing Rock

Black Lives Matter Stands In Solidarity with Water Protectors at Standing Rock
Black Lives Matter Stands In Solidarity with Water Protectors at Standing Rock
Members of the Black Lives Matter Network join resistance at Standing Rock

In the state of North Dakota, there is a movement for all of us. A movement for the recognition that water is life. A movement led by warriors, women, elders, and youth. A movement made possible by the actions taken by those who came before us, steeped in the wisdom of elders. A movement anchored by Indigenous women who put their bodies on the line for our liberation.

Over the past weekend, members of the Black Lives Matter Network traveled to North Dakota to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who are putting their bodies and lives on the line to protect our right to clean water. The Dakota Access Pipeline could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois. It is a 1,100-mile pipeline, estimated to cost $3.7 billion, and is about halfway complete. The water protectors who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline are engaged in a critical fight against big oil for our collective human right to access water. To be clear, this is not a fight that is specific only to Native peoples– this is a fight for all of us and we must stand with our family at Standing Rock.

Though the gathering of folks at Standing Rock began in April, it was approximately two weeks ago when the situation escalated as four women risked their bodies to physically stop construction on the pipeline. While construction was halted at that point, it continues on the pipeline right now, and hundreds of people have joined, donated to, and amplified the cause. Mainstream media is doing its part to ignore this resistance; it is not in the interests of large corporations or the federal government for the world to see Indigenous peoples in America working together to protect the land and water we all need to survive. The gathering at Standing Rock is a testimony against capitalism– we do not have to destroy the world and our resources for money to provide for one another. In fact, we must do the complete opposite. Scarcity is a myth and if we take care of the Earth, our family that comes after us will be taken care of by the Earth.

The Indigenous peoples leading this work have traveled from towns and reservations from all over the country, representing over seventy Nations and making this the largest gathering of Indigenous Nations since 1973. This is a critical moment in our history, where we must decide if we want to stand together for our collective well being or ignore what is happening– the further corruption of our water sources and the intentional disregard of the treaty rights and self determination of Indigenous folks in North Dakota.

Black Lives Matter stands with Standing Rock. As there are many diverse manifestations of Blackness, and Black people are also displaced Indigenous peoples, we are clear that there is no Black liberation without Indigenous sovereignty. Environmental racism is not limited to pipelines on Indigenous land, because we know that the chemicals used for fracking and the materials used to build pipelines are also used in water containment and sanitation plants in Black communities like Flint, Michigan. The same companies that build pipelines are the same companies that build factories that emit carcinogenic chemicals into Black communities, leading to some of the highest rates of cancer, hysterectomies, miscarriages, and asthma in the country. Our liberation is only realized when all people are free, free to access clean water, free from institutional racism, free to live whole and healthy lives not subjected to state-sanctioned violence. America has committed and is committing genocide against Native American peoples and Black people. We are in an ongoing struggle for our lives and this struggle is shaped by the shared history between Indigenous peoples and Black people in America, connecting that stolen land and stolen labor from Black and brown people built this country.

Black Lives Matter affirms that our lives do matter on Indigenous Land. We affirm our family’s right to land and clean water, a right that does not change based on the whims of American companies who wish to make more money off poisoning the waters that we depend on to live. We affirm our right to live takes precedent over corporations’ prerogative to make a profit.

Currently, water protectors are awaiting a decision from the courts. This decision is expected to be made by September 9th, and Black Lives Matter will continue to stand with Indigenous peoples throughout that time and beyond. Water is life, and we must all fight to protect it.

#NODAPL #WaterIsLife

To support:

Red Warrior Camp, in partnership with the Camp of the Sacred Stones, has put out an official Call to Action for all allies to stand in solidarity. Please join the #NoDAPL Global Weeks of Solidarity Action which will run from September 3rd through September 17th. Please join this Indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline by planning or joining an action near you! For more information about the weeks of action or to join an action, please visit

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