Standing Rock Water Protectors Are Fighting For Your Future
By The Rev. Deacon Brandon L. Mauai
Hau, Mitakuyapi. The Rev. Deacon Brandon Mauai Emačiyapi. Hello, my name is Brandon L. Mauai, a deacon with the Standing Rock Episcopal Community in North Dakota, and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
In the last few months there have been thousands who have traveled here from around the world to faithfully and prayerfully resist the Dakota Access Pipeline – including over 500 clergy – the very pipeline which threatens the health of our communities and the future of the Earth. These gatherings have been peaceful, prayerful, and in solidarity with my people of Standing Rock Nation.
On Sunday night, our peaceful protest was met with an escalation of police violence: Water cannons were used to blast Water Protectors in 25-degree temperatures, and we were sprayed with rubber bullets, stinger grenades, and tear gas. Hundreds were injured Sunday night, and this continues on. Contrary to the local sheriff’s statement, that the police are using “less than lethal” forms of weapons, they are life threatening.
President Obama broke his silence on what is happening at Standing Rock only to say he would let it “play out for several weeks” – but winter is here in North Dakota, and we cannot afford to wait. In 2014, President Obama visited Standing Rock and made a commitment to do everything he can to support the children and youth on the reservation. We’re asking President Obama to follow through on his commitment by putting pressure on the Army Corps to deny the pipeline permit, and asking the Dept. of Justice to start an investigation into the excessive use of force against peaceful protectors.
This is about our water and our human rights. It’s also about our climate and the future of our global community. I was at the Paris Climate talks last year and know firsthand how important it is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, work towards significant carbon reduction, and increase the use of renewable energy.
As you gather with your families this weekend, don’t forget the historical significance of Thanksgiving, and the displaced indigenous peoples, my people, who continue to fight at Standing Rock for your future – it is the moral obligation of communities of faith and conscience to stand with us.
The Rev. Deacon Brandon L. Mauai is a deacon with the Standing Rock Episcopal Community in North Dakota, and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.