Gloria La Riva and Dennis Banks will be on the ballot in Iowa for president and vice-president as the candidates of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Both candidates recently traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota to stand with the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NODAPL). That dangerous pipeline is planned to cut diagonally across Iowa as well as crossing other states.
La Riva posted a message from the encampment at Standing Rock on Aug. 28: “At Standing Rock Sioux Tribe land now. The camp and resistance is powerful, with so much spirit and solidarity of people from 90 plus Native nations. It is an honor to be with the community here. Their determination is tremendous.”
She also stated, “The stand that people are taking here is also for the people of Iowa and the whole country. We need to stand together to say no more drilling. No more oil pipeline. We must stop the destruction of the earth.”
Dennis Banks, Anishinaabe born on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and famed co-founder of American Indian Movement in 1968 has also taken part at the protests in Standing Rock. The following is from a statement he wrote about the resistance to #DAPL:
“They (The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) never once contacted the reservation to ask about the impact on their land or to ask for input on what could be a very dangerous project. People’s lives are at stake.
“Because of that, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has taken a very strong position to halt any kind of construction of pipeline underneath their land. Not only would the pipeline destroy the environment, it would poison and contaminate the water for years.
“This is why over 90 Native nations have come together. They’ve brought their tribal flags. That’s what is flying over Standing Rock.
“Stopping the destruction of the environment is of primary importance, not only to Native people, but to environmentalists all across the country, to farmers in the area to people around the world. Water is life, without water there is no life.
“They plan to pump 400,000 barrels a day through the pipeline under the Missouri River. If it breaks it would be a huge catastrophe.
“Our land and water are at stake, our history is at stake, our culture is at stake, our spiritual values, our spiritual sites and ceremonies are at stake.
“This action is as historic as the stand we took at Wounded Knee in 1973, and the widespread support is similar.
“In a Harris poll in April during Wounded Knee, they asked if people supported the action going on in Wounded Knee, 72% percent said yes. It was not only Native people coming out, it was white people out there, Black people, Asian people, Hispanics. They were there because they understood what was at stake. It was a time when young people wanted to express themselves. That is what this movement in North Dakota is about also.”
In Iowa, you can vote for candidates that are both part of the struggle for Native self-determination and the movement to stop the destruction of the planet. La Riva and Banks are the only candidates to protest in Standing Rock.
A Clinton or Trump presidency will not provide justice for Native people or any community, or real solutions to the environmental crises—for that we need protest movements like #NODAPL and Black Lives Matter. We need leaders who will stand on the front lines with the oppressed people and help build the struggle against this rotten, racist system.