Youth travel from Standing Rock to NYC to urge Clinton to take a stand

Young people from Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation traveled this week to Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in New York City to call on her to speak out against the Dakota Access pipeline.

The group also visited Trump tower to urge the Republican candidate to weigh in.

Some remarks made by the young demonstrators:

“We made treaties and agreements. A violation of a native treaty is a violation of federal law. By refusing to stand against DAPL, Hillary is putting our environment, wildlife, culture and land at risk.” — William Brownotter, 16

“As a young person I want to know what the next four years are going to entail. Is Hillary going to be focused on protecting our land? I want to know if my younger family is going to be safe. Our present situation is in dire need of a leader that still remembers that our kids are here. We want to protect the future for the young ones that come after us. I’m here to support my family.” — Garrett Hairychin, 23

“We are coming directly to Hillary at her headquarters because as the future president, she is going to have to work for us, and we want her to uphold the treaties and her promise to protect unci maka (Mother Earth).” — Gracey Claymore, 19

“Young people need to speak up and not be scared of adult leaders. We are left to take care of what they mess up.” — Marilyn Fox, 18

“We are here to tell Hillary how badly we need to protect the water. We didn’t come all the way to NY for nothing. We didn’t run all the way to Omaha or DC for nothing. We want to ask Hillary if she wants to see her great-grandkids line up for water rations.” — Adam Palaniuk Killsalive, 18, who is one of the Ocheti Sakowin Runners

“With the land and the water, we don’t speak their language. But we understand enough to know that they are hurting, and need our protection.” — Danny Grassrope, 24

Greenpeace spokeswoman Lilian Molina, encouraging the delegation, said, “Now is the time for Hillary Clinton to prove her commitment to both strong climate action and Indigenous sovereignty. Silence is not acceptable. Waiting is not acceptable. We are grateful for the young people who have traveled so far to say enough is enough. If you claim to be a climate champion, that means respecting Indigenous sovereignty, rejecting new pipelines, and keeping dangerous fossil fuels in the ground.”

A large and growing community, led by indigenous groups, has come together to protest the planned Dakota Access pipeline.

Thousands of people have gathered at a series of encampments on the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux in opposition to the pipeline’s construction.

Additionally, more than 300 tribes have joined in solidarity, as well as 21 city and county governments and some national politicians, including U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

A statement from the youth group said, “The Dakota Access pipeline is a direct violation of the sovereign rights and culture of the Standing Rock Sioux, placing serious risk to the nation’s water supply, violating federal trust responsibilities guaranteed through treaties with the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes and desecrating burial and other historical sites.”

On the Web

The letter to Hillary Clinton.