November 14, 2016

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006

Attorney General Loretta Lynch
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of Army, Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310

Governor Jack Dalrymple
Office of Governor State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0100

We the undersigned, representing the Experts of Color Network—a group of more than 200 scholars, advocates, and community-based practitioners focused on building a fair and inclusive society—request that you abide by the following requests of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the hundreds of tribes who stand in support of Standing Rock:

  1. That the Department of Justice send observers to safeguard the protectors’ safety and First Amendment rights,
  2. That the Army Corps immediately issue an order to stop work on additional construction within a mile between Highway 1806 and the Missouri River to help reduce tensions until the Corps finalizes its decision regarding the Lake Oahe easement,
  3. That the North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple remove the National Guard, as it is an inappropriate use of the United States military to interfere with a peaceful exercise of the First Amendment, and
  4. That President Barack Obama direct the Army Corps of Engineers to reroute the North Dakota Access Pipeline according to the recommendations of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

This pipeline, which plans to transport at least 470,000 barrels of oil through North Dakota every day despite the 300 pipeline breaks in recent years just in that state, was permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers and threatens the livelihood and water supply of over 8,000 Native people. The pipeline, under development by Energy Transfer Partners and approved by the federal government, endangers the lives, land, and sacred places of a community that has already faced substantial racial injustice at the hands of the United States government.

By threatening the health of the 8,000 Standing Rock Sioux citizens, we contend that Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers actions undermine the potential for Sioux youth to maximize earnings and accumulate wealth over a lifetime, which has a direct impact on the social and economic viability of the Native lands in which they reside.

This is just one of many cases of environmental racism faced by communities of color across the nation in recent years. In 2016 alone, over one hundred water protectors were arrested at Standing Rock, while a jury in Oregon allowed protestors with guns to go free on the same day. For this reason, the Experts of Color Network stands with the Standing Rock Sioux and their more than 250,000 supporters, requesting the termination of pipeline development and the protection of water and sacred land in North Dakota as a principle of human rights.

Thank you for your time and careful consideration.


Maya Rockeymoore
Center for Global Policy Solutions

Anne Price
Insight Center for Community Economic Development

Makani Themba
Higher Ground Change Strategies

Yunju Nam
Associate Professor
University at Buffalo, SUNY

Meizhu Lui
Board Member
Highlander Research and Education Center

Jacqueline Pata
Executive Director
National Congress of American Indians

Hyepin Im
Korean Churches for Community Development

Paul Ong
UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge

James Fenelon
Professor & Director of Indigenous Peoples Studies
University Professor and Member of Standing Rock Sioux

Melany De La Cruz-Viesca
Assistant Director
UCLA Asian American Studies Center

Katy Ong
Doctoral Candidate
University of Pennsylvania

William Lum

Rachel Starks

Joe Brooks
Senior Fellow

James H. Carr
Coleman A Young Endowed Chair and Professor
Wayne State University

Seema Agnani
Interim Managing Director
National CAPACD

Ivye Allen
Foundation for the Mid South

Don Shircel
Client Development Division Director
Tanana Chiefs Conference

Mijin Cha
Assistant Professor
Occidental College

Dante Desiderio
Executive Director

Gabriela Sandoval

William Darity
Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy

Alfonso Morales
University of Wisconsin – Madison