We, the Palestinian Youth Movement – United States Branch, stand in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation, and our other Native sisters, brothers, and siblings in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which will span across four states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, and cross over the Missouri River. While supporters of the pipeline claim that the DAPL will benefit workers and communities alike with environmentalism (1) as a focal point, both through job opportunities and increased availability of fuel and energy, we see that the DAPL is another opportunity to destroy Native environment and is an example of the continued invasion and violence upon Native land and against Native people. We condemn all forms of state violence against our First Nation siblings and denote that the undermining of their sovereignty and livelihood is a part of the continuing dialectic of settler-colonialism transnationally.
PYM will be caravanning from Southern California to Standing Rock, North Dakota. We plan to travel with other organizations and pro-Palestine activists in mid-September. We see the value in showing up for our Native siblings so that we can further our commitment to solidarity. We have started a crowdfund to help with the travel costs of the caravan, goods for protectors, and contributions to court funds for those who have stood at Standing Rock. (You can help contribute to our trip at this Gofundme site).
Since the arrival of settlers on Turtle Island(2), First Nations have resisted genocide and displacement. From seizure of land to reservations, from boarding schools to massacres, the state has done everything in its power to erase and eradicate First Nation peoples. Yet, they are still with us today and they continue to resist. Protecting their land, people, and future generations from the DAPL is a testament to their strength and resilience.
Further, the DAPL will have a major impact on our environment, including it being a threat to the Missouri River, which supplies about 12 million people with water. The river is also a sacred site for many First Nations peoples. Tribal preservation officer, Tim Mentz, found cairns, burials, and other sites of cultural and historic significance to First Nations along the route of the proposed pipeline(3). Although dozens of protectors have been arrested and attacked, the state and capitalist forces have failed to silence First Nation communities in their struggle against the pipeline. As a result, we as Palestinians have a mutual understanding of resisting against a settler colonial project.
As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel. Native communities have been displaced and relocated, just as Palestinians face mass internal displacement, home demolitions and life in exile from our homeland. Native communities continue to face the destruction and degradation of their land and water with restricted access to resources and delegitimization of sovereign authority and of treaties. Palestinians live under a structure of apartheid, militarized occupation, and settler-colonialism, which too has lead to the pollution of and lack of access to drinkable and potable water within the West Bank, Gaza, and refugee camps. This imposed structure by Zionist(4) forces has denied the Right of Return to Palestinians who wish to visit or live on their ancestral lands, has resulted in the disintegration of farmland to build settlements, uprooted native plants to replace them with plants that are foreign to native soil and invasive species, and built state-sponsored institutions on top of historic cemeteries and homes.
As Palestinians in the United States, we are exiled from our homeland while living as settlers upon Turtle Island. It is imperative that we demand recognition of the rights of Native nations and their people while building movements together with one another so that we can strengthen our collective call for justice. We call for an end of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We demand that the United States honor the treaties as the supreme law of the land and payment of governmental reparations.
Water is life for all of us.
Free the land.
Free the people.
Long live International Solidarity.
(1) Dakota Access Pipeline Official Website: http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/
(2) Turtle Island is the name for North America by First Nations.
(3) Associated Press: http://bigstory.ap.org/
(4) Ideology which the state of Israel has attributed to its existence
This statement first appeared on the Palestinian Youth Movement website last week.