The human rights crisis at Standing Rock has sparked a groundswell of support within the faith community. In December, hundreds of clergy traveled to Standing Rock in response to Episcopal priest John Floberg’s call to action.
Now, Paul and Annie Rockwell of the Alameda Interfaith Climate Action Network are circulating an essay, titled A Religious Response to Standing Rock, warning communities of faith that the struggle is not over. Energy Transfer Partners is fully planning to continue construction of the pipeline because they expect the Trump administration and the new Governor of North Dakota will “take a hard ‘send-in-the cavalry’ approach.” The essay calls on people of faith to urge banks to defund the Dakota Access Pipeline. Defunding the pipeline is the only way to ensure that it will not endanger sacred land and water.
Aside from circulating the essay, here are three concrete ways that communities of faith can put pressure on banks to do the right thing.
1) Regular, visible prayers for Standing Rock.
In addition to offering these prayers in the midst of religious services, perhaps they may be offered in front of or in banks.
2) Moving our money.“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.”― Mahatma Gandhi
Nearly $44 million in personal investments have already been moved out of big banks since November, 26, 2016 as part of the movement to defund DAPL. This chart shows which banks are helping to fund DAPL. If your bank is funding DAPL, consider moving your money to an online bank with ethical banking options (such as Aspiration, which partners with Sierra Club), a credit union that supports local businesses, or a Black bank. You can then report your divestment to Defund DAPL so that the banks can see how much money they are losing. In order to maximize your divestment, follow this guide from Yes! Magazine. If you have done so please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
3. People and communities of faith may deliver this letter (adapted from A Religious Response to Standing Rock and updated January 27, 2017) to their banks. The letter states compelling reasons that banks should stop funding DAPL, as well as actions we are willing to take if they fail to do so. Simply download the letter, enter the recipients’ specifics (highlighted in red), print, sign, and deliver.
SEE BELOW FOR QUOTES FROM FAITHFUL VOICES ON STANDING ROCK
We are protectors. We are peaceful and prayerful. We are non-violent. We respect the locals. We do not carry weapons.
-A banner at Standing Rock
There is a human rights issue here. They are destroying sacred sites on sacred land.
-Rabbi Francine Roston, Jewish Week
It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. For them, land is not a commodity, but rather a gift from God.
‘Water is a gift from the creator, respect it, protect it.’ I was deeply moved by these words printed on a sign at Standing Rock…In the Episcopal Church, when we baptize a new follower of Jesus Christ, we pray, ‘We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.’ The people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are calling us now to stand with Native peoples, not only for their sakes, but for the sake of God’s creation, the entire human family, and for children and generations of children yet unborn.
– Rev. John Dear, an American Catholic Priest
Click here to read A Religious Response to Standing Rock.
Thank you to Methodist seminarian and volunteer Rosina Pohlmann for contributing to the development and content of this page.