The Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) took a stand to support the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect their water resources and sacred sites and to ensure tribal consultation is a priority.
At a meeting in late October, the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s State Central Committee unanimously voted to send a letter of commitment to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault.
Chairwoman Debra Haaland, the first Native American state party chair in the country, said, “Democrats believe in justice and equality; President Obama has made it a priority to improve government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes. It’s imperative that tribes have a seat at the table and their voices are respected. In light of the recent presidential election, we must work even harder and be ready to stand up for tribal governments against an administration that is currently void of any stated policy positions on Native issues.”
In the letter, the Party states, “The Democratic Party of New Mexico commits to the right of Indian Tribes to have meaningful tribal consultation in any matters Indian Tribes deem to warrant this guarantee, and we are appalled that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has not been afforded respect and consideration regarding this matter.”
The Democratic Party of New Mexico also condemned the violence against protesters in the duration of their struggle, quoting a congressional delegation letter, “We oppose and condemn unjustified violence against protestors in the strongest possible terms.”
In the past few months, President Barack Obama has taken steps to ensure that the tribes are afforded appropriate consultation by halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on federal land, and at the beginning of November President Obama announced that other routes were being considered.
The letter follows Chairwoman Haaland’s trip to North Dakota in solidarity with New Mexico tribes. During her time in North Dakota, the Chairwoman volunteered at the Standing Rock Tribal Services building, met with tribal leaders, and traveled to the Oceti Sakowin camp where the community is set up in protest of the pipeline project. A full version of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s letter is available here.
In September, the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Native American Democratic Caucus wrote a letter to Chairman Dave Archambault expressing support for the tribe’s stance. In the letter, the caucus states, “It is of great importance that all Indigenous peoples come together in this time of need and circumstance.”
The DPNM Native American Democratic Caucus letter is available here.