To: Sen. Jon Tester (MT-1), Sen. John Barrasso (WY-2), and The United States Senate

Sen. Barrasso: Hold Indian Affairs hearing NOW on Dakota Access Pipeline

The International Indigenous Youth Council and Oceti Sakowin Youth “Demands that the Senate committee on Indian Affairs immediately commence hearings to investigate pipeline construction in relation to the National Historic Act of 1966 and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of November 16, 1990.” Clearly, the fact that the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia have temporarily halted construction on federal land demonstrates the need for legitimate oversight and environmental and cultural review. It is the responsibility of the Senate committee on Indian Affairs to hold a hearing on the entire pipeline construction project on both private and federal lands, evaluated as a whole, to determine if it is consistent with treaty rights, health and welfare of, and opportunities for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and other affected tribes.

Why is this important?

Representatives of the International Indigenous Youth Council of Standing Rock and Oceti Sakowin Youth encampment have requested that Senator John Barrasso (R- WY) hold a Senate committee hearing on Indian Affairs in response to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As the 114th Congressional session is coming to an end, the window of opportunity is closing to give notice to other Senators, as required by procedural rule 4.a for the Indian Affairs committee. Barrasso's legislative director, Stewart, told the Youth Council representatives that Senator Barrasso, “has other priorities than Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.” This dismissal comes at a time when nearly 300 Native tribes have rallied in support with the Standing Rock Sioux, and this issue has garnered national and international attention, including “solidarity protests” in 40 states and worldwide, and coverage by the mainstream print and tv media. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and Native and non-Native allies, have raised particular concern about desecration of historical sacred sites and burial grounds. Meanwhile, construction resumes in North Dakota, continuing to disturb and destroy sacred sites and burial grounds, sacrilege in Treaty terms. Protect the sacred, respect treaty law, and hold an Indian Affairs Senate committee hearing on the Dakota Access Pipeline.