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January 26, 2017

Contact Name: Jeff Martin

Still Standing At Standing Rock

AAA Denounces Move to Advance Dakota Access Pipeline

President Trump’s signing of executive orders to advance construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project has set the stage for yet another confrontation with Native Americans and environmentalists. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) believes this is a move in the wrong direction. It breaks a sacred trust obligation that will take decades to repair.

“The Trump administration needs to affirm its government-to-government consultation policy,” said AAA President Alisse Waterston. “This clearly flies in the face of four decades of federal interaction with sovereign tribal governments.”

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

The reasoning behind this latest move is baffling. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers rejected a request for an easement late last year, finding that the agency had failed to fully consider the impacts of the pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The President’s claim that the easement will create jobs is simply untrue. The bulk of pipeline jobs are in pipeline construction and, in the end, will only create a total of 15 permanent jobs in North Dakota.

“Violating our treaties with Native Americans is disrespectful and a dishonor to all Americans,” added Waterston. 

The American Anthropological Association 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 can’t believe we have to say this again, but we will – AAA calls 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.

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

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