Jun 22, 2019
Engaging in early and constructive dialogue between indigenous communities and corporations is crucial for success. Big companies involved in infrastructure projects that affect indigenous lands have the resources for careful research and negotiation to mitigate potential financial risks and social costs. Educating both indigenous people and corporations about each other’s interests protects indigenous rights and values, and increases the chances of fruitful negotiations and mutually beneficial projects.
The sun, earth, air, and water are essential and universal elements that make life possible. Indigenous communities have respected and honored their land and rivers for centuries as the source of life. It is necessary for all of us to recognize the importance of a healthy environment and act to protect it. If we all agree to work together, we can improve the lives of our communities and that of future generations.
The community’s youth took a leading role from the beginning of the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They delivered letters of protest to the district office of the US Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska. They also took a petition with over 160,000 signatures to the Washington, D.C., office, demanding that the lands and waters of the Great Sioux Nation be respected. Finally, they took the fight to social media, which raised awareness on a national and international level about the environmental risks of the pipeline.
Dave Archambault II is a global leader for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the former Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, where he led the #NoDAPL movement to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
He is now the Senior Fellow at the University of Colorado’s First Peoples Investment Engagement Program (FPIEP), a project of First Peoples Worldwide that focuses on educating industry groups and stakeholders about the rights of indigenous people and fostering dialogue between them to transform business behavior. The FPIEP conducted the “Social Cost and Material Loss: The Dakota Access Pipeline” case study.
For more information to protect water for indigenous people and to defend indigenous rights, visit Water Protector Legal.