After a rally last month in support of the Standing Rock Sioux and the indigenous led resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Corvallis City Councilor Mike Beilstein suggested that local groups might want to consider submitting a resolution to the City Council as several other cities have done. 350Corvallis and UUFC (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis) Climate Justice group member, Ken Winograd stepped up to the job. As other groups in town focused on climate and racial justice got word, the resolution gained support and momentum. Soon Ken was getting feedback, including valuable input from staff and students at the Oregon State University Longhouse Eena Haws.
Last night’s City Council meeting was a full house, with many coming out to show their support. Several community members, including indigenous students from OSU, spoke to the importance of the resolution and protecting water, the climate, and traditional ways of life. The meeting broke its usual routine as the Raging Grannies got up and sang their testimony. The resolution passed unanimously and the room full of supporters broke out in applause. We were sternly reminded by Mayor Traber that applause was usually not allowed at council meetings, but we couldn’t contain our joy. See the resolution, including a list of co-sponsors below.
CITY OF CORVALLIS RESOLUTION OF SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE TO THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
WHEREAS, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,168-mile pipeline being developed by Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliates, which would carry as much as 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, running beneath or across more than 200 streams and rivers, including the Missouri River;
WHEREAS, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People affirms that indigenous peoples have the right to protect their culture, religion, practices, and relationship with their ‘traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories [and] waters’;
WHEREAS, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has brought a lawsuit to halt construction of the pipeline for compelling reasons: the pipeline would pass under the Missouri River (at Lake Oahe) just a half a mile upstream of the tribe’s reservation boundary, where a spill would be culturally and economically catastrophic; and the pipeline would pass through areas of cultural significance, such as sacred sites and burial grounds that federal law seeks to protect;
WHEREAS, the federal government’s September 9, 2016, ‘suspension of construction appears to signal a broader willingness to re-examine the involvement of the tribes in infrastructure decisions like this one’, according to a recent New York Times report;
WHEREAS, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation, and the DAPL project represents a continuation of the systematic oppression facing indigenous peoples in the Americas that will set judicial precedence for future encounters between these nations;
WHEREAS, the City of Corvallis sits on land inhabited by the Kalapuya and Chinook people for over 8,000 years, and the State of Oregon is home to nine federally recognized tribes;
WHEREAS, the Corvallis City Council has a history of recognizing and acting for social and ecological justice, such as its resolutions to divest from fossil fuels, to promote carbon pricing, the establishment of September 22-25 (2016) as ‘International Days of Peace’, support of the Earth Charter as well as its Climate Action Plan which aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster resilience to the effects of climate change;
WHEREAS, in 2015, Corvallis was the first city in Oregon to recognize Indigenous People’s Day, to be celebrated the second Monday in October;
WHEREAS, projects like the DAPL are wholly inconsistent with the City’s vision of a fossil free economy and a worldview, in large part shaped by Indigenous teachings, based on reverence for the natural world, peace and justice for all sentient beings; and
WHEREAS, the City of Corvallis values Indigenous cultures’ wisdom that clean water, air and land is essential to life, and further investment in fossil fuel infrastructure poses an existential threat to the earth and all its inhabitants.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: The City Council of Corvallis stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, with both moral support and a call to action by city residents, following the lead of Indigenous groups, and urges municipalities, universities and other organizations throughout the United States to do the same.
Interfaith Climate Justice Corvallis (ICJC)
Corvallis SURJ: Showing Up for Racial Justice
First United Methodist Church (Corvallis)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Council on behalf of the Congregation
CARE: Community Action for Racial Equity
Veteran for Peace (Linus Pauling Chapter, Corvallis)
Religious Society of Friends (Corvallis)
Corvallis Raging Grannies
Corvallis No War
Beit Am Sustainability Committee
Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (Corvallis)
Linn-Benton Pacific Green Party
*Much appreciation to the students of the Oregon State University Longhouse Eena Haws for their support and feedback that has been incorporated into the resolution.