Tipis have sprung up on the National Mall alongside the Washington Monument as Natives and allies converge on the U.S. capital to demand a halt to humans’ collective destruction of our habitat, starting with fossil fuels and pipelines. Indigenous Peoples are flocking to Washington D.C. for four days of events including musical performances, panels and other cultural activities, centered around resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) as well as to uphold indigenous and treaty rights, and to stand for environmental justice.
From March 7 through 9, “Native leaders and their allies will lobby in the halls of power in Washington DC on behalf of the protection of all Tribes,” according to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “After the march, we will gather for a rally at the Ellipse. It is here we will make our demands to the new administration.”
The organizers will push for a meeting with President Donald Trump, a move toward consultation that involves consent rather than simple notification of plans, and others to be determined.
“President Trump must meet with tribal leaders to hear why it’s critical that the U.S. government respect tribal rights,” the Standing Rock Sioux said on its website. “This administration must work with us.”
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Marginalizing tribal interests over those of corporations and other governments also won’t work, the tribe said. “Consultation is not enough—we must require consent.”
The camps and tipis are symbolic only, with no overnight camping allowed, the organizers emphasized on their website Native Nations Rise. The four-day protest will peak on Friday March 10 as water protectors march from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters to Lafayette Square, near the White House. The resistance will be set to music, with live performances from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, the First Nation A Cappella Trio Ulali, guitarist Gabriel Ayala, Kontiwennenhawi – the Akwesasne Women Singers, Prolific TheRapper, and teen rapper and activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.
On March 7, a judge denied the Cheyenne River Sioux’s latest bid to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) under Lake Oahe. But the fight for the larger issues, or even to stop the oil flowing through the pipeline, is not over, attorneys for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes said. Besides the courts, the battle is now in the halls of banking, as a move to pull funds and investments from financial institutions gains steam. In honor of the march, as well as of International Women’s Day, and to keep moving forward in general, the organizers of the January 21 March on Washington have created a page dedicated to DAPL divestiture.
Native Nations Rise is calling on Indigenous Peoples everywhere to join the march, and they are answering. Packed buses are traveling from cities all across Turtle Island to converge on Washington.
“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”