Indigenous Youth Travel From Standing Rock to Clinton Headquarters to Demand Answers on Dakota Access Pipeline

by Perry Wheeler

October 27, 2016

Brooklyn, NY - Today young people from Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation traveled to Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in New York City to demand that she speak out against the Dakota Access pipeline. The Clinton campaign has thus far remained silent about the 1,100-mile pipeline that threatens sacred Indigenous land and water supply. The water protectors urged solidarity actions at local Clinton campaign offices across the country. The group also visited Trump tower to urge the Republican candidate to weigh in.

Commenting on today’s action and the need for Hillary Clinton to be vocal against the Dakota Access pipeline, the young people said:

“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

There are 4 of the Oceti Sakowin youth runners in this youth delegation. The youth runners ran to deliver a message about climate change, to raise awareness of DAPL, and to pray for the water.
“When we stepped out onto the pavement we opened up the door to a ceremony that we didn’t even know we are going to be a part of. Even though we didn’t run to NY, this trip is still part of that journey.” — Danny Grassrope, 24

“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

Voicing the organization’s support for the youth delegation, Greenpeace Spokesperson Lilian Molina 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 in rejecting the Dakota Access pipeline. Thousands of people have gathered at a series of encampments on the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux in direct opposition to the pipeline’s construction. Hundreds have been pepper sprayed and arrested in the process. American Indians from over 300 tribes have joined in solidarity, as have 21 city and county governments. Prominent politicians and members of Clinton’s own Democratic Party have also rejected the pipeline, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Raul Grijalva.

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. The fast-track process of approval disregarded key U.S. legislation, including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act. And no proper Environmental Impact Statement, with substantive tribal consultation, was performed. On the basis of any single one of these conditions, construction must be halted. Indigenous communities, NGOs, and allies across the country demand an end to the Clinton campaign’s silence on the issue.

The formal demand letter can be found here:


For interview requests with spokespeople on the ground, please contact:

Steve Sitting Bear, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe O. 701-854-8500

Nick Tilsen, Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3), C. 605-441-7486

Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, C. 507-412-7609

Judith LeBlanc, Native Organizers Alliance,  C. 917-806-8775

Nola Taken Alive, C. 701-301-7299

For interview requests with Greenpeace, please contact:

Jason Schwartz, Greenpeace Media Officer, P: 347-452-3752

Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Media Officer, P: 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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