With less than 24 hours to organize, New Energy Economy and Retake the Roundhouse joined forces, collected over 1000 signed petitions and at 8 AM Saturday, drew about 75 protestors to the Center for Progress & Justice in Santa Fe. Guess what Lujan and Udall said.
Before reporting on Standing Rock, a quick reminder: 9 days left. Click here for information on how you can support four progressive Democrats running for seats in the Roundhouse. On to Standing Rock.
Given a room packed with signs opposing the Dakota Access, Senator Udall and US Representative Lujan had a golden opportunity to show their own progressive pedigree, stand with the protesters and voice their opposition to the pipeline. No chance. Didn’t happen.
At left, Dine Navajo Leoyla Cowboy spoke to the crowd after having presented the petitions to Senator Udall and US Representative Lujan at the kickoff of their day-long campaign bus tour. Leoyla Cowboy and Paul Gibson, Retake the Roundhouse Coordinator, spoke. Everyone there to hear Lujan and Udall voiced loud support for Standing Rock.
Pressuring our elected representatives is the role that progressive Democrats must play after the election: forcing issues, petitioning our representatives, and pushing for Democrats to move from ‘studying issues’ to taking bold action. Nineteen members of Congress have signed a letter to Obama asking him to stop the Dakota Access pipeline completely, but Senators Heinrich and Udall and Representatives Lujan and Lujan Grisham are not among them:
- Despite their representing the state with the 3rd highest proportion of Native Americans of any State in the US (over 10%);
- Despite our State Democratic Chair, Deb Haaland, being the first Native American State Chair in the nation and her going to Standing Rock and working in the camp to support their efforts—now that is political courage, the kind we should expect from Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representatives Lujan and Lujan Grisham;
- Despite Sen. Udall being a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and because of this position, having a good deal of influence in Washington;
- Despite the Democratic Party of NM State Central Committee passing a resolution just this week insisting that in NM indigenous populations must be consulted before seeking to use their land for any purpose.
Despite all these factors, none of Congressional delegation has publicly supported the water protectors in Standing Rock. What’s more, with a room packed with signs protesting the Dakota Access pipeline (at left), Udall and Lujan chose to speak in platitudes about ‘recognizing science’ and that ‘global warming is real.’ We already know this. We need action, not recognition. This moment was an opportunity to step forward and voice condemnation of the pipeline and the way the protesters at Standing Rock are being abused. Instead we got platitudes. Too many Democrats are comfortable extolling democratic values of freedom and justice but when it comes time to vote for or stand for justice, they are ‘studying the issues.”
There are no issues to study here. It is about environmental justice: we can’t keep extracting oil and save our planet. And it is about social and cultural justice: We have been exploiting the Native American people and their lands for hundreds of years. They courageously and peacefully defend their land and we taser them and shoot them with rubber bullets. This does not need to be studied. We need action and we need it now.
We should be proud of Deb Haaland, our State Democratic Chair, at left, as she has gone to Standing Rock and took a real stand. We need more leadership like this. Retake the Roundhouse will continue to pressure our representatives in DC and the Roundhouse to do their jobs and represent the interest of the people and the planet and not the profit mongers who have no respect for land, people or culture.
The tribes assembled in Standing Rock are now risking their lives for our planet and we need to press our representatives to put a stop to this and other pipelines. Now.
Senator Udall is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, US Rep Lujan is Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee US Rep Lujan Grisham is on the Congressional Native American Caucus. These are influential representatives in Washington and they have not publicly expressed their support for the Water Protectors in Standing Rock. Here is what you can do.
Write and call your Representatives and ask them to write a public letter to President Obama asking him to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. Click here to find addresses, phone numbers and email contact information. But whatever you do, contact them. They need to hear that we expect more than platitudes.
Click here for contact information for your US Representatives.
Click here for more information on Standing Rock. This page has information about the banks and oil companies that are behind the Dakota Access and lots more information about how you can oppose DAPL.
Click here for a list of organizations and sites with information about Standing Rock and what you can do.
Drop off good quality clothing, jackets, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. Bring them to New Energy Economy this Monday or Tuesday between 10AM-4PM. They are located at 343 E. Alameda.
For an article about those nineteen Congressional Reps who wrote to Obama in opposition to DAPL, click here.
And if you want graphic evidence of what is happening at Standing Rock, this excellent report has a dozen brilliant photos that should motivate you to call Udall, Lujan and Lujan Grisham right now.
For more information on the protest on Saturday in Santa Fe and to keep informed of future protests: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnergyEconomy/
There is much to do.