Filed under: Action, Environment, Indigenous, Northeast
Submitted to It’s Going Down
On the Aboriginal homelands of the Lenape Peoples [Mount Laurel, New Jersey] Thursday, October 28, 2016, activists entered the corporate headquarters of TD Bank in Mount Laurel, New Jersey for a demonstration calling on TD CEO Mike Pedersen to withdraw the bank’s financial support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
— Food & Water Watch NJ (@FWWNewJersey) October 27, 2016
Today’s action targeting TD Bank was done in solidarity with the hundreds of Native Nations and thousands of water protectors who are on the front lines at #StandingRock to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. This action is especially important considering the massive police repression against the protectors on Thursday. This is part of the spreading solidarity with the Indigenous protectors on the frontlines. A post from the Red Warrior Camp facebook page is calling for “two months of sustained waves of action targeting the Army Corp of Engineers, investors, pipeline companies, security firms and elected officials who are behind this project.” Actions can be registered and found at NoDAPLSolidarity.org.
The activists who targeted TD Bank’s headquarters highlighted that the pipeline is being built on sovereign territory of the Oceti Sakowin, and that territory is recognized by the U.S. government, according to the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie. Construction of the pipeline also violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“Not only does this pipeline break the sacred laws of nature, by backing the project without the prior and informed consent of the Sioux Nation, TD Bank violates it’s own code of corporate responsibility, and the US Government breaks federal law. The land where the Dakota Access Pipeline would cut under the Missouri River is Lakotah land, belonging to the Great Sioux Nation as stipulated by Article VI of the U. S. Constitution.” – Dr. Margo Simmons, Cherokee/Shawnee/Lakotah/African-American.
— American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) (@AILAnyc) October 27, 2016
TD Bank signed on to a $2.5 billion loan to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. Less than half of this money has been distributed, so TD and other banks have time to cut the line of credit for the project. By continuing to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline, TD Bank is putting their profits before the safety and well-being of millions of people, above the rights of Indigenous Nations, and above the rights of Mother Earth.
“We are here to show our respect for Indigenous rights, both human as well as the rights of land and water. We denounce the actions of TD Bank and others who continue to fund the pipeline because it is not only unnecessary, but an insult to our humanity.” – Carol Gay, President, NJ Industrial Union Council.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would send 570,000 barrels of fracked oil per day from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. The risk of a pipeline spill into the Missouri River threatens the drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and million of people living downstream. The Bakken oil fields have brought increased levels of violence against Indigenous women and children, as a result of the transient ‘man camps’ which brings non-Native men to live nearby for a temporary time while they work in the oil fields. This violence has been well documented by Indigenous activists for years, who have highlighted the link between extraction industries and violence against Indigenous women and children. Even the Washington Post has reported on the violence in the Bakken oil fields.
— Minister Erik (@Bike_at_W4) October 27, 2016
Millions of people have been watching the aggressive response from law enforcement and their treatment of largely Indigenous protectors. In September the Standing Rock Sioux Nation identified a location near Cannonball, North Dakota as a burial site, and made a court filing with the US Government to protect the remains of their relatives. Within hours, employees showed up – flanked by private security and guard dogs – and bulldozed the site. As peaceful water protectors gathered at the site, attack dogs were unleashed on protectors. Additional protectors, including children, were sprayed with pepper spray. In all, more than 260 people have reportedly been arrested since the resistance began.
The police repression on Thursday has made this an even more pressing and urgent situation for everyone on the frontlines of this fight. Those of us who cannot go to the camps must find other ways to take action, wherever we are.