Several notables are on hand today to bestow the first ever Henry A. Wallace Prize on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is being honored for “unyielding advocacy for people and the planet” in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), according to a media release.
“The mission of the Wallace Global Fund is to promote an informed and engaged citizenry, to fight injustice, and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends,” the organization states on its website.
The Wallace fund was founded in the name of the 33rd vice president of the United States, who championed human rights and promoted democracy. The organization will honor Standing Rock for its efforts to combat the routing of DAPL a half mile from its reservation, within treaty-protected lands, and under the reservoir that comprises the main source of drinking water for the tribe and millions downstream along the Missouri River.
“Over the past year, the tribe bravely fought to protect their clean water, sacred lands and indigenous rights by resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the Wallace Fund said. “The Standing Rock Sioux demonstrated unbreakable determination and courage, and are now transitioning away from fossil fuels to rely on clean energy.”
Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault II “will share details on how this award will help decrease the Tribe’s dependence on the fossil fuel industry,” the fund said.
The award is being created specifically “to highlight the extraordinary courage and will it takes to stand up to oppressive corporate and political power,” the fund said.
Speakers will include Wallace Global Fund co-chair Scott Wallace; Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation; Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, and, via video, actress Shailene Woodley, who was arrested during the protests.
Back in his day, during World War 2, Wallace warned of the dangers of American exceptionalism, championing what he called the “common man.”
“I am committed to the policy of placing human rights above property rights,” he famously said. “I am committed to using the power of our democracy to control rigorously the power of huge corporate monopolies and international big business.”