Even though Burlington is a 28 hour drive away from North Dakota, UVM is still able to support Standing Rock in many ways – one of these ways being direct actions that raise awareness and build the political power of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the water protectors there. The International Socialist Organization on campus organized the solidarity march for Standing Rock for a multitude of reasons.
First and foremost to show our solidarity and support for the water protectors at Standing Rock who have been tirelessly protecting their right to clean water and their treaty protected land since April and in recent weeks have been victims of escalated and increased state-mandated violence.
We organized this to show that UVM and Burlington are not tolerant and will not stand for the continuation of dangerous fossil fuel production, in North Dakota and in Vermont, as well as the violence and negligence that the government has been inflicting upon the people who in the end are just trying to protect their land and water that is rightfully theirs.
We organized the protest because we wanted to call on Leahy and other government officials in the state to truly take action against this. Democrats like Leahy, Obama, and H. Clinton have always claimed to support indigenous rights and encouraged the fight against climate change and yet they have not spoken out against this modern day infringement of rights.
We want them to use their political power and influence to end this legacy of colonization of indigenous lands.
UVM can be a part of this by first of all being a part of the fight. There are students on campus organizing against the pipeline as well as many other injustices and the more people that are involved, the better equipped we can be to fight.
UVM ISO is currently working to support Standing Rock and will continue the fight here, locally, and I encourage everyone to seek out a way they can be a part of this, in any way they see fit.
This is an insane violation of rights and, in the words of Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” In addition, we want to materially support the resistance.
UVM ISO is sending a delegation of a few folks to the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota either over Thanksgiving or Winter Break and we will be starting a collection soon.
International Socialist Organization Student Activist
Leader of Burlington’s Standing Rock Solidarity March