Green Day, Guns N’ Roses, Against Me Members + More Sign Open Letter to President Obama Concerning Standing Rock Protest
One of the bigger items in the news of late has concerned the peaceful protest by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe members protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline with police using what is viewed as aggressive tactics hoping to shut them down. More and more attention has been drawn toward the protest of late with musicians and celebrities getting involved. The latest act to bring attention to the protest is an open letter penned by British vocalist Kate Nash and co-signed by a wealth of musicians across multiple genres asking President Obama, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice to intervene.
The letter, which can be read below, has been signed by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan, Against Me's Laura Jane Grace and James Bowman, Sleeping With Sirens' Kellin Quinn, The Struts' Adam Slack, NOFX's Fat Mike, D Generation's Jesse Malin, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, Queen's Brian May, Babes in Toyland's Lori Barbero and Kat Bjellend, Deap Vally, Pussy Riot, X, Zak Starkey, Lagwagon and Propaghandi among others. It reads as follows:
Dear President Obama, Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of Justice,
We are writing to express our shock at the treatment of the people of Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. We are deeply disturbed by the police actions that have been taking place, where non violent protests have been and continue to be met with extremely aggressive tactics including; being shot with water canons in below freezing temperatures, chemical weapons, rubber bullets, and attack dogs. These are the same inhumane methods used during WWII and the Civil Rights Movement.
We feel strongly in the current political climate that those in power must be held accountable for their actions. We stand behind and urge you to take action regarding the following requests made in the coalition statement released on November 27th, 2016:
"We call on the White House to deny the easement now, revoke the permits, remove the DAPL construction workers, and order a full environmental impact statement in formal consultation with impacted tribal governments. Put an end to the violence."
We encourage you to remember that this planet provides for us, not the other way around. Water is life and this cannot be underestimated or taken for granted in 2016.
We are aware of the long and painful history between the US and its indigenous people. Know that the world’s eyes and the eyes of the music community are on you now as you continue to disregard the treaties you have with the Native American people and act barbarically towards them.
Standing Rock we stand with you.
Kate Nash • Hayley Williams, Paramore • Sia • Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day • Walk The Moon • Sleigh Bells • Ingrid Michaelson • Motion City Soundtrack • Moby • Tegan & Sara • Sky Ferreira • Tove Lo • Lykke Li • KT Tunstall • Kimya Dawson • Karen O • HOLYCHILD • Liz Phair • JoJo • JD Samson • Kathleen Hanna • Johanna Fateman • Jack Antonoff • Rizzle Kicks • Ed O’Brien, Radiohead • Nick Mason, Pink Floyd • Duff Mckagan, Guns & Roses • Billy Bragg • Bethany Cosentino, Best Coast • Ben Gibbard, Death Cab for Cutie • Black Kids • Cold War Kids • Clem Creevy, Cherry Glazerr • Emmy The Great • First Aid Kit • FIDLAR • PARTYBABY • Bleached • Jenny Lee Lindberg, Warpaint • SWMRS • Julia Cumming • Deap Vally • Jungle • Kiran Ghandi • Lizzie Plapinger, MSMR • Marina & The Diamond • Natasha Bedingfield • Pussy Riot • Parson James • Santigold • Rumer Shirakbari • Samantha Urbani • Rachel Trachtenburg • Mitch Grassi, Pentatonix • Louise Post, Veruca Salt • Skating Polly • Lori Barbero & Kat Bjellend, Babes in Toyland • Kojak • Gin Wigmore • Dispatch • Bonnie Mckee • Seth Bogart, Hunx • RAT BOY • Christina Perri • Asia Whittacre • Jackie Tohn • Lapsley • Chloe Latimer Kloe • Chris Desjardins, Flesh Eaters • Alex Didonato, Finish Ticket • Chris Porterfield, Field Report • Jenn Wasner, Flock of Dimes • Matt & Kim • Sandie Shaw • Tyson Meade, Chainsaw Kittens • Zak Starkey • Kliph Scurlock • Justin Tranter • Daya • Julia Michaels • Alicia Warrington • Ashton Irwin, 5 Seconds of Summer • X • Jesse Malin, D Generation • Mario Cuomo, The Orwells • Spankrock • Andro • Lucius • Alice Glass • Anna Bulbrook • Jessica Gelt • Tom Biller • Justin Young, The Vaccines • Julia Nunes • Rain Phoenix • Fitz & The Tantrums • Sara Bareilles • Young Volcanoes • Kellin Quinn, Sleeping With Sirens • Cadien James, Twin Peaks • Adam Slack, The Struts • Andrea McMahon • OKGO • Andy Stack, Wye Oak • Deerhoof • Amanda Blank • A Great Big World • Laura Jane Grace & James Bowman, Against Me! • Lights • Lyndsey Gunnulfsen & Alex Babinski & Brian MacDonald, PVRIS • Vic Mensa • Fat Mike • Night Birds • Propagandhi • Lagwagon • Mark Ronson • Gorgon City • Erik Hassle • Steve Aoki • Atlas Genius • Troye Sivan • Hana Pestle, HANA • Shirley Manson • Brian May • Cat Power • Icona Pop
Nash told Rolling Stone she was inspired to write the letter and reach out to others in the music community after participating in a letter-banking event. "It feels hopeful," she says. "We can draw a different audience to the subject, spread much needed awareness and let the people of Standing Rock know that the music community sees and hears them and that we stand with them."
The Army Corps of Engineers have set a Dec. 5 deadline for protestors to decamp from the site, with those remaining expected to be charged with trespassing and facing prosecution. In recent weeks, the peaceful protestors have reportedly been threatened with the use of water cannons, rubber bullets and concussion grenades.
Lamb of God's Randy Blythe recently visited the Standing Rock protestors and wrote a detailed account of his experience that can be read here. In it, he detailed that police officers were armed with “rifles, grenade launchers, safety-orange shotguns, large pepper-spray canisters resembling fire extinguishers and a few water hoses.” To combat the possibility of the weapons being used, protestors covered their hands with rubber gloves to combat the pepper spray and mixed liquids to help alleviate the potential usage of tear gas.
“What is happening at Standing Rock is a reaction to the continued and systematic oppression of the indigenous people of our land. I am amazed at the level of restraint and commitment to nonviolence the overwhelming majority of these people have continued to display in such large numbers and can only pray that everything remains as peaceful as possible,” stated Blythe.
He then put this entire scene in a different context, proposing, “If the events occurring there were to happen in a major American city instead of way out on the edge of an isolated Indian reservation, there would be massive riots and there is no question about that in my mind.”
“There are other questions, though; hard questions that we need to start asking ourselves, all of us,” Blythe said. “The most important one is this: Are we ready to stop screwing around and decide whether or not we are going to leave a world where human beings can survive in the future?”
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