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AAA Stands with Tribal Nations Opposing Dakota Access Pipeline

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September 6, 2016

Contact Name: Jeff Martin
Contact Phone: 571-483-1163

AAA Stands with Tribal Nations Opposing Dakota Access Pipeline

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) stands in solidarity with the sovereign Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Great Sioux Nation), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the American Indian Studies Association, and the many tribal nations in strongly opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The construction of the oil pipeline, stretching across Standing Rock Sioux lands on its 1,172 mile path from North Dakota to Illinois, would be a violation of the sacred trust between the US Government and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The proposed pipeline route crosses the sacred ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Missouri River – a major source of water for the Tribe. In doing so, it violates the cultural and collective environmental human rights of the Tribe to life, land, cultural preservation, health, clean water, and a clean environment.

The conduct of the US government in its approval of the Pipeline proposal breaches the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties between the Oceti Sakowin and the United States. The pipeline further violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as the collective human rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its people. 

Article 19 of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples maintains that “states shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” Yet, in violation of both human rights and US government policy, the US Army Corps of Engineers granted environmental clearances and construction permits without consulting the Standing Rock tribal government in a meaningful way.

In his Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, President Obama cautioned that “history has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results.”  AAA is in agreement with this cautionary statement.

AAA believes in the protection of human rights, including those of Indigenous peoples; we have a collective responsibility to the environment and to future generations to protect these ancestral lands and water. We call for the respect of the sovereign rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its peoples, and the immediate halt of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and tackling the world’s most pressing problems.

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