Carl Moore, chairman of Peaceful Advocates for Native American Dialogue and Organizing Support, returned to Utah from North Dakota where he took part in protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline—a controversial oil pipeline that is slated to run through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. Surrounded by dozens of supporters and wearing a traditional headdress, Moore prayed for solidarity during an organized protest on Monday.
Why should Utahns get behind this cause?
Because we're human beings. Everyone's a human being. A lot of people have the privilege of not living on a reservation, the privilege of not be Native American, but we're all human beings. This is not a Native issue. TheNative people are leading this issue. But this is an issue of clean water, respect and dignity, a matter of sacredness. Native Americans have never been allowed to have things be sacred. To most people here, sacred is a Christian sacred. There is no other sacred, so everything else is not real. But we need to allow Native Americans to have their sacred. Just like Christians have their sacred. Islam has their sacred. It's a matter of respect.
For those who haven't been following the controversy, what is the Dakota Access Pipeline?
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a pipeline that is being built right now. It is positioned to go through sacred burial ground, Lakota burial ground. This is essentially a cemetery that they are trying to go through. It is going through the top corner out there on the reservation in Standing Rock. That's one issue—it is a land issue.
Another concern is the way the government has responded to protests. Can you talk about that?
The county has called in and requested backup. They are scared. They're frightened. And the governor [Jack Dalrymple] has also requested backup. So they have all these forces from all different states to essentially protect a private business commit an immoral act. And it's immoral because they are trying to go through sacred burial land and also underneath the Missouri River. It's a large river. All people under the river are going to be devastated when the pipeline breaks. And it will break. All pipelines break. No pipeline is foolproof.
What do you think the appropriate government response would have been?
The appropriate response would have been not to let this to happen in the first place. But right now it should be to stop it, indefinitely. It needs to stop. It's a wrong action. The United States put Native Americans on reservations. We signed a treaty with them at Fort Laramie that gave us the land that it's going through. But since then, they took that land and they made a different reservation line. They're using eminent domain to take land from private owners. These aren't natives, these are white owners. They're taking their land.
If people want to get involved how should they do so?
If they want to get involved there is a Facebook group: Standing Rock Support from Utah. Or they can join our group PANDOS on Facebook, and we will make them aware of things we're doing. We are doing outreach and fundraisers because they need money for legal fees. People are getting arrested. They've raised the bond from $250 bail to $1,500. So it's getting more costly for people to get out of jail.