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Faith Leaders to Bear Witness at Standing Rock

Media Advisory

What: An interfaith solidarity event with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the water protectors. The goal of this peaceful interfaith witness with the indigenous peoples who are protecting the water and land at Standing Rock is to increase awareness of the situation and to advocate for elected officials to take action to end construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Who: The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, joins clergy, lay people, and protectors from many faith traditions to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Morales says, “The construction of the massive Dakota Access pipeline, stretching from North Dakota to Illinois, is a textbook case of marginalizing minority communities in the drive to increase fossil fuel supplies.” (Read the full statement here.)

The Rev. Karen Van Fossan, minister of the Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and her congregation have been working to support the water protectors at Standing Rock and to amplify their message with local faith communities and Unitarian Universalists across the country. The Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance is organizing trips to the camp from Minneapolis. More than 300 clergy have registered to participate.

Why: Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation are struggling to protect their sacred land and water supply threatened by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

John Floberg, presiding priest of Episcopal churches of Standing Rock, North Dakota, issued an invitation calling clergy of all faiths to gather in North Dakota. Floberg says, “In recent days, the repressive power of the state has increased: armed riot police are guarding ongoing pipeline construction, increased arrests and repression of non-violent prayerful action. At the same time, Oceti Sakowin water protectors have reclaimed land never relinquished by treaty directly in the path of the pipeline and established a new camp. Our duty as people of faith and clergy could not be clearer: to stand on the side of the oppressed.”

Chairman Dave Archambault, II of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation has asked U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch to investigate civil rights violations by state and local law enforcement and to take steps to protect the right to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

For more than 45 years, Unitarian Universalists have pushed for justice for indigenous peoples, passing a number of resolutions and actions of immediate witness. The 2012 General Assembly in Phoenix, AZ passed, at the request of immigration justice partners, a resolution condemning the Doctrine of Discovery and calling on Unitarian Universalists to study the doctrine and its impact on current-day policies, programs and beliefs.

When: Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3 (The interfaith solidarity event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. MDT on Thursday, November 3.)

Where: Camp of the Sacred Stone, North Dakota Route 1806, Cannon Ball, North Dakota

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For more information contact pr@uua.org.