A Statement by the Council of the American Studies Association
September 23, 2016
The American Studies Association stands with the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota people who have come together to protect their waters, bodies, lands, and sacred places from those constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline and others who benefit financially from continued reliance on fossil-fuel extraction, refining, and consumption. This statement is a call for ASA members, American studies departments and programs, and others to support the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and those who have joined them in the Sacred Stone Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and Oceti Sakowin Camp as they fight to stop further construction of the DAPL.
Dakota Access Pipeline LLC intends the new pipeline to stretch 1,100 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and to carry 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Compelling evidence suggests that the effects of these plans on Mni Sose (the Missouri River), which is Standing Rock’s water supply, and the lands, other waterways, and human and non-human persons near the pipeline have not been adequately considered, assessed, or evaluated. If anything, that evidence points to Lakota cultural sites and burial areas already sustaining damage.
The ASA promotes the proliferation of knowledge of the environmental and human impact of such projects as the DAPL. Further, American studies as an academic and scholarly field has developed a growing commitment to understanding US history in the context of Indigenous persistence and the long history of the abrogation of the sovereignty of Indigenous nations by the U.S. nation-state. In light of what we learn and teach as American studies scholars, we join Indigenous organizations, American Indian governments, and other organizations, governments, and institutions around the world in pledging solidarity with and support for the people of Standing Rock.
Thus, we recognize the authority of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and join their call for an immediate and permanent end to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The people of Standing Rock and their Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota relations in the Oceti Sakowin Oyate have made a stand to protect their land, lives, and water and against these threats to their sovereignty, human rights, and basic dignity. We join them in their stand, and we ask others to do so as well.
Approved by the Executive Committee, 23 September 2016