Sacramento City Council Puts Standing Rock Resolution on Dec. 6 Consent Calendar

By Dan Bacher |  December 2, 2016 |   In a surprisingly quick action, the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night voted to put a resol...

By Dan Bacher | December 2, 2016 |  

In a surprisingly quick action, the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night voted to put a resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline on the consent calendar for the next council meeting on December 6 starting at 6 pm. 

Local water protectors rally outside Sacramento City Hall
 before the City Council meeting. Photo by Dan Bacher.
Councilmember Angelique Ashby made the motion to put the resolution on the consent calendar, noting the urgency of the situation at Standing Rock. The consent calendar allows the council to approve a number of items together without discussion or individual motions. 

The council made the decision after a dozen people, including local water protectors who recently traveled to North Dakota to join the Tribe and their allies on the front lines, passionately spoke before the council about the urgent need to back the movement to stop the pipeline. 

“While I was in North Dakota, the police arrested me and other water protectors,” said Liljana Adams, a member of the United Auburn Indian Community. “They strip searched us and put us in dog kennels. I’m a mother of three children, but I left them at home because I knew they wouldn’t be safe there. I hope my community supports this resolution.” 

Anamaria Ragland-Munoz, local social justice and homeless advocate, urged the council to “be on the right side of history. Stand with us Sacramentans who believe that the pipeline is wrong on so many levels.” 

“It violates treaty law,” she said. “It desecrates sacred sites. Please protect the Missouri River, the primary water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. No DAPL! Respect Native Lives!” 

Wes Elliott (Haudenosaunee) of Native Protectors for Environmental Justice, who joined the water protectors in North Dakota four times over the past several months, brought the resolution before the council during the public comment period at the end of the meeting. 

“We looked at different resolutions passed by different cities, communities and Tribes to develop our resolution,” explained Elliott. 

He described the police brutality that he personally witnessed at Standing Rock as “atrocious,” noting that Sophia Wilansky, the woman who had her arm blown apart by a concussion grenade, had also been been shot by rubber bullets 14 times. 

The resolution states: 

Section 1. The City of Sacramento stands in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites. 

Section 2. The City of Sacramento calls upon the United States and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, prior to taking any federal action regarding the DAPL that would harm or destroy the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites. 

Section 3. The City of Sacramento proclaims the second Monday of October, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Sacramento, will commemorate and support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the DAPL. 

Before the meeting, Tina Marie of the Brown Berets De SacrAztlán, who just returned from a trip to Standing Rock, told me, “I have never witnessed racism, sexism and violence by the state like I witnessed while at Standing Rock. It was literally like walking back into the 1960s. Law enforcement was brutalizing unarmed, peaceful people for protecting their land, legally theirs under an 1851 treaty with the U.S. government.” 

“I was there for 3 days in the main camp,” she said. “Eighty percent of the people in the camp were women and the police shot rubber bullets at them at point blank range.” 

Ruth Ibarra noted that Councilmember Eric Guerra helped the local Standing Rock supporters through the process of getting the resolution before the council. 

“There is an unfortunate history where we have overlooked the rights of indigenous people in our country and throughout the Americas," Guerra told Anita Chabria of the Sacramento Bee. “It’s something that I think we always say, ‘Oh, that was in the past.’ But it is happening again today and I think it’s important that when we see that religious rights or civil rights are being violated, we as a city should take a vocal position on it.” 

However, Bill Cerruti, executive director of the Sacramento Italian Cultural Society, told the Bee his organization is opposed to the council proclaiming the second Monday of October, recognized nationally as Columbus Day, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Sacramento 

“It’s part of our heritage and very important to our identity,” Cerruti said. “Historically it’s been a day of national unity.” 


Organizers are urging people to contact their City Council member before the next council meeting to back the resolution. The contact information is available below the text of the resolution. 

"It appears the resolution will pass, but let them know you support a yes vote," according to the Native Protectors for Environmental Justice:https://www.facebook.com/NativeProtectors/ 

They will also “rally media attention to cover Standing Rock and for support” in front of Sacramento City Hall, 915 I Street, at 5:00 pm before the 6 pm council meeting. 

Veterans self-deploy to Standing Rock to defend water protectors 

On Monday, November 28, North Dakota Governor Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an evacuation order citing “anticipated harsh weather conditions” at the Oceti Sakowin Camp before a storm dumped six inches of snow in the area, but the water protectors don’t intend to leave. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also told them to leave by December 5 or face criminal charges. 

Up to 2,000 U.S. veterans plan to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to serve as “human shields” for the water defenders. The “deployment” effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a “nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls ‘assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force,’" the New York Times reported. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/us/veterans-to-serve-as-human-shields-for-pipeline-protesters.html

The Oceti Sakowin Camp is “a historic gathering of tribes, allies and people from all walks of life standing in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to standwithstandingrock.net, an official site of standingrock.org

Stand with Standing Rock Resolution: 

Below is the complete text of the resolution before the City Council next Tuesday: 

WHEREAS, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline being developed by Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliates, which would carry as much as 570,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude from western North Dakota to Illinois; and 

WHEREAS, the DAPL would run across or beneath 209 rivers, creeks and tributaries, including the Missouri River, which provides drinking water and irrigates agricultural land in communities across the Midwest, serving nearly 10 million people; and 

WHEREAS, any spill of oil into the Missouri River would irreparably harm the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Treaty reserved lands, territories, waters and other resources; burial grounds, gravesites and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and spiritual relationships and indigenous ways of life; and 

WHEREAS, the DAPL would also run through the ancestral lands and waters reserved for the traditional use of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by the Treaty of Ft. Laramie, including the Missouri River, burial grounds and gravesites, and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and 

WHEREAS, Articles, 11, 12, and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), as endorsed by the United States in 2010, affirms that indigenous peoples like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe possess the right to maintain and protect their culture, religion, practices, and relationship with their “traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories [and] waters”; and 

WHEREAS, the UNDRIP Article 32 further provides that governments shall consult with indigenous peoples “in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources”; and 

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult with or obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as required by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, Executive Order 13175, the UNDRIP Article 10, and other federal and international laws, before issuing a “Mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact” that would result in an easement for horizontal directional drilling for the DAPL; and 

WHEREAS, Indian Treaties such as the Treaty of Ft. Laramie are recognized by the U.S. Constitution as “the supreme law of the land,” and require consultation and cooperation by the United States with its Indian Treaty partner before any federal action is taken that affects Treaty lands, territories, waters or other resources; and 

WHEREAS, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 affirms the need to “protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions,” particularly in American Indian sacred places; and 

WHEREAS, the State of California recognizes that “Native American prehistoric, historic, archaeological, cultural, and sacred places are essential elements in tribal cultural traditions, heritages, and identities.” (Chapter 532, Statutes of 2014 (AB 52, Gatto) 

WHEREAS, the State of California recognizes that “As California Native Americans have used, and continue to use, natural settings in the conduct of religious observances, ceremonies, and cultural practices and beliefs, these resources reflect the tribes’ continuing cultural ties to the land and their traditional heritages.” (Chapter 532, Statutes of 2014 (AB 52, Gatto) 

WHEREAS, the State of California recognizes that “Native American burial sites and Native American cultural resources have always been, and will continue to be, considered sacred to California Native Americans. (CA PRC 5097.995) (Chapter 1155, Statutes of 2002) (Chesbro, SB 1816)) 

WHEREAS, the City of Sacramento has worked diligently for many years to secure and protect its own sustainable clean water supply and supports the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposing the construction of the DAPL that passes under the Missouri River and other water sources with the recognized threat of contamination of existing water supplies with potential future oil spills. 

WHEREAS, City Councils of Los Angeles and Davis, California, Portland, Oregon, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians comprised of 59 Indian Nations in the Northwest, and nearly 200 Indian Nations, are among the governmental bodies that have taken formal action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and oppose the DAPL; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO, THAT: 

Section 1. The City of Sacramento stands in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites. 

Section 2. The City of Sacramento calls upon the United States and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, prior to taking any federal action regarding the DAPL that would harm or destroy the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites. 

Section 3. The City of Sacramento proclaims the second Monday of October, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Sacramento, will commemorate and support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the DAPL. 

Contact the Mayor & City Councilmembers: 

Mayor Kevin Johnson 915 I Street, 5th Floor Sacramento, California 95814 
916-808-5300 – FAX 916-264-7680 
mayor [at] cityofsacramento.org 
K.J. Chief of Staff, Crystal Strait 
916-808-5300 – FAX 916-264-7680 
cstrait [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Councilmember Angelique Ashby (Dist 1) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
916-808-7001 
FAX: 916-808-8406 
aashby [at] cityofsacramento.org 
Chief of Staff, Kevin Greene 
916-808-7339 
kgreene [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Councilmember Allen Warren (Dist 2) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7002 – FAX (916) 264-7680 
awarren [at] cityofsacramento.org 
Alisa Johnson, Executive Assistant 
(916) 808-7002 – FAX (916) 264-7680 
abjohnson [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Council Member Jeff Harris (Dist 3) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7003 – FAX (916) 808-8546 
David Gonsalves, District Director 
915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7003 – FAX (916) 808-8546 
dgonsalves [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Council Member Jeff Harris (Dist 4) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7003 – FAX (916) 808-8546 
David Gonsalves, District Director 
915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7003 – FAX (916) 808-8546 
dgonsalves [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Councilmember Jay Schenirer (Dist 5) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
(916) 808-7005; FAX 916-264-7680 
jschenirer [at] cityofsacramento.org 
Chief of Staff, Joseph Devlin 
(916) 808-7234; FAX 916-264-7680 
jdevlin [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Councilmember Eric Guerra (Dist 6) 915 I Street, 5th Floor 
Sacramento, CA 95814 
Erin Teague, District Director 
(916) 808-7006; FAX (916) 264-7680 
eteague [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Councilmember Rick Jennings, II (Dist 7) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
Phone 916.808.7007 | Fax 916.264.7680 
rjennings [at] cityofsacramento.org 
Dennis M. Rogers, Chief of Staff 
916.808.7338 
dmrogers [at] cityofsacramento.org 

Mayor Pro Tem Larry Carr (Dist 8) 915 I Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 
916-808-7008 – FAX 916-264-7680 
lcarr [at] cityofsacramento.org 
Matthew Bryant, Chief of Staff 
916-808-7337 
mbryant [at] cityofsacramento.org




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