Columbia Faculty Release Statement of Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Friday, September 30, 2016

Over 40 Columbia University professors signed a letter in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read the full letter below or click here.


Concerned Faculty
Columbia University
116th & Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Chairman Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Building 1 North Standing Rock Avenue
Fort Yates, ND 58530
September 4, 2016

A Statement of Support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

We the faculty of Columbia University stand in peaceful and politicized solidarity with Chairman Dave Archambault II, tribal members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and their allies against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. This project is not only a violation of treaty rights, but federal law. Although federal law requires The Army Corps of Engineers to consult with the tribe about its sovereign interests, construction began without meaningful consultation. The Army Corps of Engineers disregarded the concerns outlined by the tribe and issued permits to Dakota Access LLC to dig under the Missouri River. Such a move signals the US government’s ongoing disregard for tribal nations and their communities—a relationship that has been marked by genocide and structural injustice since the violent founding of the United States—in favor of corporate interests and profit. This is, and has always been, entirely unacceptable.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an imminent threat to those living on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, as well as those who live near the pipeline and rely on water from the Missouri River. The pipeline is a dangerous, grave risk to a primary water source and would be an environmental assault on the community if a spill were to occur. Energy Transfer Partners has assured the people of Standing Rock that the pipeline would be closely monitored, but given the historical relations between Indigenous peoples and the United States, the tribe has little faith that their safety and interests will be upheld. The record on spillage is bleak. In 2012-2013, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in North Dakota alone. The pipeline will also disturb burial grounds and sacred sites on the tribe’s ancestral treaty lands—its proposal marks violation on multiple fronts.

As a collective of scholars, some of whom come from and/or work alongside Indigenous communities, we understand the stakes associated with the propagation of US colonial interests; interests that place the extraction of fossil fuels over a fundamental right to access clean water and a desire to preserve and protect the planet. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are not just fighting for their own existence, but for those who are unable to do so and for all the future generations that follow.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been temporarily halted, due to the resistance efforts at Standing Rock (and pending a US federal court decision to be released on September 9th, 2016), but we know this fight is far from being over. The faculty of Columbia University will continue to stand with Chairman Archambault, the tribal members, and their allies who are heroically holding the line to stop the pipeline construction. This fight is the fight of all Native peoples and their allies struggling against the imposition of neoliberal development projects that continue to harm humans and homelands alike.


(Columbia University Faculty, enter names and departmental affiliations)
Audra Simpson, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Paige West, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Elizabeth Povinelli, Franz Boas Professor, Anthropology
John Pemberton, Professor, Anthropology
Marilyn Ivy, Professor, Anthropology
Nan Rothschild, Professor, Dept of Anthropology
Jean E. Howard, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Joseph Massad, Professor, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Sheldon Pollock, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Steven Gregory, Professor, Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies
Rosalind Morris, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor
Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenweiser Professor of Social Science, Department of Anthropology
Gray Tuttle, Leila Hadley Luce Associate Professor of Modern Tibet, Department of East Asian Languages And Cultures
Wael Hallaq, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, MESAAS
Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History
Allison Busch, Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Courtney Bender, Professor, Department of Religion
Gregory Mann, Professor, History Department
Felicity D Scott, Associate Professor, GSAPP
James Schamus, Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts
Timothy Mitchell, Professor, MESAAS
Elsa Stamatopoulou, Director, Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program, Institute for the Study of Human Rights/Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race/Anthropology.
Kellie Jones, Associate Professor, Art History and Archaeology
J. Blake Turner, Assistant Professor of Social Science (in Psychiatry) at CUMC
Wayne Proudfoot, Professor, Department of Religion
Patricia Dailey, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature, 
Director, Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Natasha Lightfoot, Associate Professor, Department of History
Carole S. Vance, Professor, Department of Anthropology
E. Valentine Daniel, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Kevin Fellezs, Assistant Professor, Music
Ben Orlove, Professor, International and Public Affairs, Earth Institute.
Karl Jacoby, Professor, History
Marie Lee, Adjunct Professor, Creative Writing
Mabel O. Wilson, Professor, Architecture
Deborah Paredez, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts & Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Claudio Lomnitz, Professor, Department of Anthropology.
J.C. Salyer, Term Assistant Professor of Practice, Sociology 
Vanessa Agard-Jones, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Brinkley Messick, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Andrew J. Nathan, Professor, Department of Political Science
Aaron Fox, Associate Professor, Department of Music
Catherine Fennell, Associate Professor, Department of  Anthropology
Ellie M. Hisama, Professor, Department of Music
Neferti Tadiar, Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality
E. Mara Green, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Yvette Christiansë, Professor, English & Africana Studies
Celia E. Naylor, Associate Professor, Africana Studies and History
Deborah R. Coen, Professor, History
Manu Vimalassery, Term Assistant Professor, American Studies
Severin Fowles, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Kaiama L. Glover, French and Africana Studies
Kim F. Hall, Lucyle Hook Professor of English, Professor of Africana Studies
Nicholas Bartlett, Assistant Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Lisa Tiersten, Professor, History
Elizabeth Hutchinson, Associate Professor, Art History and American Studies
Alex Pittman, Term Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality
Rosalyn Deutsche, Art History
Monica L. Miller, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
Deborah Valenze, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History
Debra Minkoff, Miriam Scharfman Zadek Family Professor of Sociology
Alexander Alberro, Professor, Art History
Najam Haider, Assistant Professor, Religion
Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism