CFA Stands in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Protestors

The California Faculty Association stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the coalition of Native leaders and activists defending their cultural heritage, sacred grounds, right to protest, sovereign rights, and right to clean water.

These brave activists have taken a stand as “water protectors.” The treatment of the protectors by private and state law enforcement officials echoes the violent and exploitative history of racism and genocide experienced by the Sioux Nation during the violent conflict with the U.S. Army during the Whitestone Massacre of 1863.

Native people have a continuous experience of colonization—the transfer of the wealth of the community to private interests—that continues to this day. The Sioux Nation has faced conflict with the Army Corps of Engineers during the building of Oahe dam that has eroded their land rights and degraded their land.

To end this history of violence and environmental degradation of tribal land, the Sioux Nation and over 100 tribal leaders are taking a stand. CFA supports their right to freedom of expression and protest, freedom of access to the media, and the right to defend their land and their only source of clean water.

“Particularly disturbing were the photographs and video of water protectors being pepper sprayed and attacked by the dogs of the private security guards of the Dakota Access pipeline. As a progressive labor union committed to anti-racist activism, CFA is disturbed by the clear violation rights of peaceful demonstrators and feel compelled to lend our voice,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan. 

Dr. Erma Jean Sims, a CFA activist, Lecturer at Sonoma State University, and member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama said:

“I stand in solidarity with our Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Brothers and Sisters to protest an oil pipeline proposed to run through tribal land in North and South Dakota. Our sacred sites and ceremonial grounds are ‘sacred.’

“As Native American people, it is our ’sacred duty’ to protect these lands, the history of our people, and the burial grounds of our ancestors. The care of the EARTH and the environment has been entrusted to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all Native American people. Join us in prayer and protection our ‘sacred sites’, tribal lands, waters, and the EARTH,”