Letter: Human rights group stands with protesters
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all persons exercising their constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble and protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Thousands of individuals, ranging in age from infants to the elderly, Native and non-Native, are camped near this protest. The deprivation of water is inhumane and certainly not something the NDHRC condones. The singling out of Native persons and preventing their free movement on and off the reservation
on public roads harkens back to this nation's dark history.
The DA pipeline's path poses a threat of irreparable harm to (1) the tribe's primary source of clean water and (2) sacred sites, which fall under the protection of the treaty between the federal government and the tribe.
NDHRC calls on authorities, elected leaders, lawmakers and governmental officials, especially those who have been imposing sanctions on our fellow citizens, to acknowledge and honor the tribe's treaty rights, as well as their right to be heard on an issue that affects their daily lives and future generations. Authorities should make every effort to defend the right to peaceful assembly rather than escalate this situation or react with fear and intimidation.
Nelson lives in Fargo.