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'Silence Is Not Acceptable': Indigenous Youth Demand Clinton Take Stand on DAPL

'By refusing to stand against DAPL, Hillary is putting our environment, wildlife, culture, and land at risk,' says 16-year-old William Brownotter

Signs outside Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters on Thursday. (Photo: @Yahktoe/Twitter)

While water protectors faced off against militarized police in North Dakota on Thursday, Indigenous young people from the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes traveled to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters in New York City to demand she break her silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

"Now is the time to prove your commitment to both strong climate action and Indigenous sovereignty," read a letter the youth attempted to deliver at Clinton's office in Brooklyn. "Silence is not acceptable, stand with us and oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline."

Despite repeated calls for her to take a stand on the pipeline—which is staunchly opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux as well as more than 300 allied tribes—and public opposition from an increasing number of campaign surrogates, Clinton has yet to do so.

"By refusing to stand against DAPL, Hillary is putting our environment, wildlife, culture, and land at risk," said 16-year-old William Brownotter on Thursday. 

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"We are coming directly to Hillary at her headquarters because as the future president, she is going to have to work for us, and we want her to uphold the treaties and her promise to protect unci maka [Mother Earth]," added 19-year-old Gracey Claymore. 

According to reports on social media, the young people erected a tipi, sang, and drummed inside the headquarters while allies demonstrated outside. The Clinton campaign reportedly refused to accept their letter.

Among the youth delegation were four Oceti Sakowin youth runners, who this summer ran 2,000 miles from North Dakota to Washington, D.C. to protest the pipeline.

"We are here to tell Hillary how badly we need to protect the water," said 18-year-old Adam Palaniuk Killsalive, one of the runners. "We didn't come all the way to New York for nothing. We didn't run all the way to Omaha or D.C. for nothing. We want to ask Hillary if she wants to see her great-grandkids line up for water rations."

Voicing solidarity with the protesters, Greenpeace spokesperson Lilian Molina added: "Now is the time for Hillary Clinton to prove her commitment to both strong climate action and Indigenous sovereignty. Silence is not acceptable. Waiting is not acceptable. We are grateful for the young people who have traveled so far to say enough is enough. If you claim to be a climate champion, that means respecting Indigenous sovereignty, rejecting new pipelines, and keeping dangerous fossil fuels in the ground."

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