FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Olivia Canlas, National Education Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivy Quicho, National Chair, email@example.com
Joan Ariete and Patricia Ramirez, AF3IRM NY/NJ Co-coordinators, firstname.lastname@example.org
NATIONAL–In firm solidarity with the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, AF3IRM stands against the desecration of Native land and water by big oil and multinational corporate interests through the Dakota Access Pipeline. AF3IRM joins the peoples of the world — tribal, ethnic, and woke — in affirming the justness of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s struggle and condemning the confluence of militarized state violence with an imperialist agenda.
As transnational women of color whose histories and presence in North America are tied to the occupation, colonization, and the dispossession and invasion of our ancestral lands, we have witnessed the full impact of how people are deprived of land and how land is deprived of its people by white supremacist dominionism and colonialism. We have experienced violence against the earth as inextricably linked to violence against women and children, as we are dispossessed of our homes and communities, our own bodies, and the memory of our ancestral language and history. The languages of our cultures speak of a profound respect for nature and we view rainforests, mountains, and oceans as sentient forms of life and spirituality, daring not to cross the barriers that separate us from them unless we utter proper greetings of respect and request for permission. This conscious reverence to the land and water is something that baffled our colonizers– so much so that they made it their legacy to destroy our ancestors’ ways of life. Our connection to the earth through our spirituality, our cultural practices, and even our language was and continues to be a nuisance for the white supremacist machinery whose dominionism shatters the unity of Earth life, whose inhumanity fails to reflect upon the truth that the human species itself is but a branch of the wondrous complexity that makes this planet home.
We know that the ferocity with which a project like the Dakota Access Pipeline is being pursued is part of the continuing implementation of a supremacist and colonial agenda, wherein certain cultures and certain peoples are considered disposable, their worldviews and value systems not in alignment with dominionism, and their land and resources free to be exploited. North Dakota produces the most oil compared to any other state in the country and is the heart of the U.S. oil boom, putting the state in a billions-dollar surplus. It is no wonder why multinational corporations are fiercely seeking tribal land and why the state unleashed its law enforcement, responding to opposition with political repression and intense violence. This is Capital seeking to remake the entire world after its own image — one that values nothing else above the creation of more profit and more capital.
The subhuman treatment and oppression of water protectors at Standing Rock by highly militarized state forces through the recruiting of police in riot gear from 5 states, the use of dogs and concussion grenades, and military-grade armed vehicles, and the subsequent incarceration of those who object to the exploitation of land and water for profit–all this, mirrors North America’s long bloody history of the genocide of Native peoples–from the violent removal of communities from sacred land to their virtual incarceration in reservations, to the concerted destruction of clan lines through the physical, psychological and sexual degradation of native women, and finally, to the cultural genocide of the forcible removal of native children to boarding schools to be brainwashed into the death-dealing value system of the white supremacist, teaching them racism, sexism and class exploitation.
AF3IRM knows that the struggle at Standing Rock is more than a struggle over land and water. It is a struggle over how humanity will define itself for the eons — whether we accept a continued despoliation of the Earth and the marginalization of certain portions of humanity, as white supremacy and corporate culture demand; or whether we shall come to view ourselves as interconnected and the Earth as a whole as our home.
It is in a shared space of the cry for justice and liberation, that we transnational women of AF3IRM take to heart and soul the lessons of the struggle of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, water protectors, indigenous communities and allies. We recognize that this struggle is found throughout the earth – such as in Hawai’i where the corporate diversion of water has decimated Native Hawaiian kalo farmers and subsistence agricultural practices and in British Columbia where First Nations peoples are fighting against the building of the Site C hydroelectric dam which threatens their ancestral lands and their indigenous way of life. Truly, the clock of history has to be rewound and all the deadly mistakes of white supremacy and dominionism have to be corrected, their corporate instruments of control and destruction abolished, their militarized agencies of coercion dismantled.
Just as we women of transnational origins were removed from our lands, so do we now witness people being steadfastly removed from the small portion of earth to which they had been pushed by invasion, occupation and land theft. Throughout history, we have seen how contract and migrant workers are used to generate vast amounts of profit for corporate owners and stockholders, through the expedience of racism, sexism and wage slavery. From the extraction of valuable natural resources at the expense and exploit of indigenous lands, the use of indigenous labor to build pipelines, and Mexican migrant labor to complete the dangerous clean-up work post-accident, and the exposure to toxic chemicals and substances; to the care of the children of the rich by poor mothers, from We Are Mauna Kea, Winnemem Salmon Run, Idle No More and Lakota Nation Fight against the Keystone Pipeline, to the Standing Sioux Tribe and water protectors; across nations and across borders, we stand in solidarity with Native liberation movements throughout North America and worldwide for justice, sovereignty, and dignity.
We stand with Standing Rock. We conspire with Standing Rock. We uphold the justness and correctness of the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We say, #NoDAPL. We say #KeepItInTheGround. We affirm #WaterNotOil. And along with the tribes, we say, #WaterIsLife. #WaterIsGrace. #WaterIsPower. There is #NoFutureWithoutWater.
AF3IRM will be hosting events in support of Standing Rock. Updates will be posted on our website (http://www.af3irm.org) and on Facebook (http://facebook.com/af3irm), so please stay tuned.