Statement of Solidarity with the Native Peoples of Standing Rock*
Brighton, MA: As people committed to justice, nonviolence, unifying love and communion with the Earth Community, we, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, together with our Associates, stand in solidarity with our Native American sisters and brothers, especially of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
We believe that Creation is a sacred trust given to the whole Earth Community. As people of faith in relationships with Native American peoples, we are sensitive that the Dakota Access Pipeline project would pass through sacred treaty-protected land of the Sioux people and under the tribe’s major source of water, the Missouri River. We support and affirm the dignity of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their peaceful efforts to protect their sovereignty, water, culture, lifeways, and sacred sites.
We are deeply concerned with the dangerous and potentially lethal force used on water protectors/peaceful protesters at the Oceti Sakowin/Sacred Stones Camp. We support a peaceful resolution and a commitment to formal consultation with the leadership of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council for their input concerning this pipeline project.
We are challenged by Pope Francis in his latest encyclical: “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture” (Laudato Si’, 146).
We join in solidarity with the Native Peoples of Standing Rock through our faith-filled response to their urgent appeal for continued support, in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and their peaceful efforts to protect their water and sovereignty. We encourage others to raise awareness about this important struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice.
Although the permit for construction of this portion of the pipeline has been denied by the Army Corps of Engineers, and investigation into other routes has been promised, the Sioux and their supporters are aware that this reprieve may be temporary. With them, we remain vigilant to respond to further threats to their lives and culture.
Our spirituality as Sisters of St. Joseph, calls us to “Love God and love the Dear Neighbor without distinction” and to discern “how does this decision/action impact the Earth Community?” We will not distinguish people by religion, color or creed when they cry out for mercy. Let us continue to respond to our Dear Neighbors with love in their hour of greatest need. We turn to the God of all of creation and ask that we may be instruments of unity, peace and care for all creation.
*This statement is drafted from a statement of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. We are grateful for their willingness to share it.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston is a Congregation of vowed religious women and associates who minister in the Greater Boston area and beyond. They trace their roots from LePuy, France (1650), Lyon, France (1807), St. Louis, MO (1836) and arrived in Boston, MA in 1873. They identify with the cries of a world, stunned by violence and seek to reopen communications in divided communities, to search for shared values, and to empower individuals to explore common ground for the healing of humankind. They are part of The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph composed of more than 4,500 members, 2,800 associates, with NGO status in the United Nations. For more information visit www.csjboston.org