Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

NM Delegation Calls Escalation of Violence Against Native Protestors In ND ‘Deplorable’

New Mexico Delegation sent a letter to President Obama requesting the administration to intervene with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Author:

Democratic members of Congress from New Mexico sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on the “administration to intervene in the deplorable recent escalation of violence” surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote the letter to condemn “unjustified violence.” The letter was directed toward Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, which has hired private security personnel armed with pepper spray and guard dogs. The security personnel used both the dogs and spray earlier this week against Native water protectors who oppose the construction of the DAPL.

RELATED: Watch: Democracy Now! Bears Witness to Dog and Pepper Spray Attack on Protectors

A jointly-issued press release explained that the New Mexico lawmakers took action to respond to growing concerns within tribal nations throughout New Mexico as expressed by the Navajo and Pueblo leadership about the abusive treatment of Natives gathered near Standing Rock and their First Amendment rights. "We oppose and condemn unjustified violence against protestors in the strongest possible terms,” the lawmakers wrote. “The aggressive actions undertaken by private contractor security personnel in North Dakota including the use of pepper spray and dogs are alarming, and it is important that the concerns regarding this project are given due consideration and steps are taken to ensure the safety of everyone on site."

The release states the New Mexico delegation received letters and resolutions from Pueblo of Isleta Governor E. Paul Torres on behalf of the All Pueblos Council of Governors (representing 20 pueblos), Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez, and Duane “Chili” Yazzie, president of the Navajo Shiprock Chapter.

"In particular we call to your attention the resolution from the Shiprock Chapter calling on your administration to intervene in the deplorable recent escalation of violence between private security personnel and Native American protestors over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline," the lawmakers continued.

The full text of the letter is below and the additional letters and resolutions from tribal communities can be downloaded here.

September 8, 2016

The President

The White House

Washington, Dc 20500

Dear Mr. President: We Would Like To Bring To Your Attention The Attached Letters And Resolutions Shared With Us By Pueblo Of Isleta Governor E. Paul Torres On Behalf Of The All Pueblo Council Of Governors Representing 20 Pueblos, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye And Vice President Jonathan Nez, And The President Of The Shiprock Chapter Duane Chili Yazzie. In Particular We Call To Your Attention The Resolution From The Shiprock Chapter Calling On Your Administration To Intervene In The Deplorable Recent Escalation Of Violence Between Private Security Personnel And Native American Protestors Over The Construction Of The Dakota Access Pipeline.

We Oppose And Condemn Unjustified Violence Against Protestors In The Strongest Possible Terms. The Aggressive Actions Undertaken By Private Contractor Security Personnel In North Dakota Including The Use Of Pepper Spray And Dogs Are Alarming, And It Is Important That The Concerns Regarding This Project Are Given Due Consideration And Steps Are Taken To Ensure The Safety Of Everyone On Site.

We Are Aware Of Ongoing Litigation Concerning The Army Corps Of Engineers' Approval Of Permits, But We Request An Immediate Intervention Into This Escalating Violence And That Your Administration Respond To The Growing Concerns In Tribal Communities Across New Mexico About The First Amendment Rights And Abusive Treatment Of Native American Protestors.

Thank You For Your Prompt Attention To This Important Matter.

Sincerely,

Tom Udall

United States Senator

Martin Heinrich

United States Senator

Ben Ray Luján

United States Representative

Michelle Lujan Grisham

United States Representative