NEW YORK – More than 60 people joined Onondaga Nation leaders at the shores of Onondaga Lake on the morning on September 5th to conduct a prayer circle in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and members of more than 120 Native Nations and their allies who have gathered in North Dakota at the Sacred Stone Camp to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens their water supply as well as the Missouri River.
This struggle resonates deeply with the Onondaga Nation, whose sacred waters of Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek have been badly polluted by outside industry throughout the past 130 years, depriving them, and the residents of Central New York, of safe use of these waters.
“We know what it’s like to have our water polluted,” noted Sid Hill, Tadodaho of the Haudenosaunee and part of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs. “Our ancestors relied on Onondaga Lake as a major food source. Now, even after the Superfund remediation work is supposedly complete, the fish are too toxic for women and children to eat. It is so important to protect water.”
The Onondaga Nation issued a solidarity statement on August 24, as a busload of Onondagas joined protests in Washington, D.C. that day.
The Dakota Access Pipeline was permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late July, despite the objections of three other federal agencies.
A prayer and protest camp led by the Lakota has arisen near the site of the construction in North Dakota, and is attracting thousands of natives and allies to stand in solidarity against the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux are also currently suing the US Army Corps of Engineers to stop construction. A federal judge will decide whether to issue the preliminary injunction on September 9.