Nominate NoDAPL for the Nobel Peace Prize:
As an associate professor of history, I submitted the following letter to the committee. I make this letter public not curry any favor or put any pressure on the committee, but to continue to bring these issues of the NoDAPL movement to the general public.
An Open Letter by Dr. Al Carroll
To the members of the Nobel Peace Prize committee,
I hereby nominate the No Dakota Access Pipe Line movement, commonly known and referred to as NoDAPL, for the Nobel Peace Prize for the following reasons:
1. NoDAPL was formed to oppose an oil pipeline which threatens to contaminate water supplies on the adjacent Standing Rock Indian Reservation, homeland to Dakota and Lakota peoples. The pipeline also would pass through sites sacred to traditional Dakota and Lakota, including sites for ceremony and gravesites hundreds of years old. NoDAPL stands as a meeting point for anti- racism, civil rights, environmentalism, and religious rights movements.
2. NoDAPL is the largest gathering of American Indian demonstrators in the US in over 40 years, since the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972. Up to 5,000 water protectors, as they call themselves, demonstrate at any one time. Its members include not only those from Standing Rock. The protectors are from more than 300 recognized American Indian tribes in the US. The National Congress of American Indians, representing the elected tribal leaders of recognized tribes, overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support. 87 of the tribes, representing the majority of the American Indian population, passed additional resolutions of support of their own.
3. NoDAPL also has the support of millions of non-Natives from every background and every part of the United States and the world. Black and Latino groups added their support. Six major US city councils voted resolutions of support. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault has spoken before the United Nations. Most recently, more than 2,000 US military veterans came to shield the protectors from the constant violence, threats, and harassment from private security and law enforcement. Such support has extended overseas as well, across Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand. Over 120 of the world’s best known musicians have expressed public support in a letter to President Obama, and half a dozen of them have done benefit concerts or performances.
4. NoDAPL water protectors have faced police and private security attacking them with clubs, dogs, mace, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and water cannons soaking them in below freezing temperatures. Thousands have been arrested and hundreds have been injured, including one suffering amputation of her arm. All have been repeatedly threatened with jail and heavy fines. Racists and others have spread rumors and disinformation, falsely accusing protectors of being paid, being communists or terrorists, or engaged in stereotyping of Natives as lazy, violent, or drunks. Even journalists reporting the demonstrations were arrested or shot with rubber bullets.
5. NoDAPL withstood extreme weather conditions in one of the coldest parts of the US, a militarized police and private security response, a lack of most media attention, and the public declaration that the military would shut down the camp. They finally achieved victory in their desired goal. On December 4, the US Army Corps of Engineers declared they would seek another route. A multibillion dollar project by one of the most powerful energy companies was stopped by one of the finest examples of passive resistance and protest. The NoDAPL movement could well be the blueprint for resistance against a President Drumpf/Trump’s administration made up of white supremacists, other bigots, and multibillionaire corporate elites.
6. There remains the real possibility that this victory may be undermined by the incoming US President Elect, Donald Trump. (Originally the family name was Drumpf, but that changed due to self- hatred on the part of this family of German immigrants.) Drumpf/Trump is widely reported to have several hundred thousand dollars personally invested in the pipeline, and company executives in return donated tens of thousands to his campaign. Drumpf/Trump has vowed to force through the pipeline in his first 100 days in office, as one of his top ten priorities. His incoming administration is heavy with energy company executives and climate change deniers. His extensive 40 year history of anti-Native (and other) virulent racist beliefs and actions are a matter of public record. This nomination and the winning of the Nobel Peace Prize both could successfully pressure Drumpf/Trump to not reverse the current Army Corp of Engineers decision.
Dr. Al Carroll
Associate Professor of History
Northern Virginia Community College
Sterling, Virginia, USA