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Sonoma County Gazette
Standing Rock DAPL Protest

OPINION: Standing Rock is Not Over

Mar 29, 2017


By Linda Swartz

The camps have for the most part been cleared, and the movement against the pipeline has suffered a string of setbacks including an executive order reversing the Obama administration’s hold on the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Army Corps decision to abandon the environmental impact review. Yet far from accepting defeat, Native communities and their allies have become energized by events taking place all over the country, including here in Sonoma County. “We haven’t lost; we have awakened people to water rights issues, land rights issues including tribal sovereignty, and environmental justice, as well as issues of women of color and marginalized communities.” states Eryn Wise, resident of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico and member of International Indigenous Youth Council. Eryn was one of many tribal leaders and speakers from around the country who rallied native Americans and their allies at a series of marches called byThe Indigenous Environmental Network and theInternational Indian Treaty Council.

Local group Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock is aligned with march organizers who state: ”The Standing Rock movement . . . has evolved into a global movement highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations whose rights protect Mother Earth for future generations.”

The group recognizes that the call to respect indigenous rights is also a call to preserve human rights; that the right to clean water, a livable environment, clean energy, and climate justice are rights we all share and must stand together to uphold.

Sonoma Solidarity formed last September when a group of 30 citizens gathered in Santa Rosa, concerned about the escalating violence at Standing Rock. As they continued to organize and grow, in October and November members initiated divestment actions in San Francisco, San Rafael and Santa Rosa urging divestment from the pipeline, in concert with other groups across the USA.

Adam Villagomez, local member of Dakota Sioux/Chippewa and Cynthia Quinn of Yurok descent, along with other members, led an event with a rally and silent vigil in Santa Rosa on December 4, drawing 600 marchers including local veterans. The march coincided with the convergence of veterans from all over the country at Standing Rock in support of the 100 tribes gathered there.

In January at the Women’s March in Santa Rosa, we disseminated divestment information and marched with 5,000 others to stand up for human rights, social and environmental justice, and climate action. That same week we hosted another event featuring Native American youth speakers from Standing Rock at the Sebastopol Grange. The following week we joined over 100 environmental and social activist groups at the North Bay Community Engagement Fair where we raised funds for the water protectors.

We initiated an ongoing letter writing campaign to target elected officials and to request an investigation into conflicts of interest and human rights abuses at Standing Rock.

In February and March we collaborated with 350.Marin to stage divestment actions at SPO Partners, and Wells Fargo, both invested in the pipeline.Dennis Bernstein on KPFA’s “Flashpoint” interviewed members at this action. Upcoming actions include The People’s Climate March on April 29, organized by a coalition of environmental and social justice groups, and tabling for divestment at Day Under The Oaks at the SRJC.

Standing Rock supporters are now galvanized by recent news of successful divestment campaigns in Seattle, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco and Santa Monica, as well as international cities in Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Australia and many others.

Currently our goals are:

1) Fundraising to support lawsuits filed against Energy Transfer Partners, the major pipeline funder, and to support legal defense for hundreds of people arrested during lawful and peaceful protests.

2) Promoting divestment from banks and other organizations invested in the pipeline.

3) Educating the community about the current status of Standing Rock and ways to support indigenous peoples and communities.

We continue to hold biweekly meetings the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month at the Peace and Justice Center. We invite your participation and deeply appreciate your support.

To contact Sonoma Solidarity: Facebook:

Website: Email:


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