The following letter was sent to President Donald J. Trump by the Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church expressing opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Click here to view a PDF of the letter.
President Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Feb. 8, 2017
Dear President Trump,
We, the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, write to express our support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and all who bear peaceful witness to its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As bishops, we provide spiritual leadership to more than 300,000 United Methodists in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and Guam. Our churches are built on traditional lands of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other people indigenous to the Pacific Islands.
We stand alongside the Standing Rock Sioux Nation now to affirm its right as a sovereign nation and reject the wrongful termination of the environmental impact statement process. We recognize that the abundance that many of us enjoy has come at the expense of the original inhabitants and caretakers of these lands, and we recognize that we have a moral obligation to seek just and healing relationships with their descendants. We are working within our own communities to build relationships of mutuality and respect with local tribes.
United Methodist teaching supports Native American access to and protection of sacred sites and public lands for ceremonial purposes. We affirm the rights of Native Americans to preserve culture, lands, religious expression, and sacred spaces (2016 Book of Resolutions, #3321 Native People and The United Methodist Church).
As United Methodists, we strive to develop gracious, honoring relationships with Native peoples. We believe that American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and indigenous peoples around the world have a right to clean water and safe living environments. We believe that sovereign tribes should be treated with appropriate respect and protocol, including the right to free, prior, and informed consent to proposed infrastructure projects impacting their lands (2016 Book of Resolutions, #1025 Environmental Racism).
We call for a permanent halt to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and beseech you, and members of Congress, to respect the right of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to protect its sacred land and water. Further, we urge meaningful consultation with tribal leaders regarding any development of sites with religious and cultural significance to Native peoples or sovereign tribes, and ask that you do all in your power to respect the rights, dignity, and sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and all Native peoples.
We uphold you in prayer as you lead the United States of America in uncertain times. May the wisdom of God light your way.
With hope for the future,
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky
Bishop Grant Hagiya – President of the Western Jurisdiction Bishops
Bishop Bob Hoshibata – Secretary of the Western Jurisdiction Bishops
Bishop Warner Brown
Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Bishop Elias Galvan
Bishop Karen Oliveto
Bishop Roy Sano
Bishop Beverly Shamana
Bishop Melvin Talbert