Pope Francis appeared to back the Standing Rock Nation’s efforts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), “saying indigenous cultures have a right to defend ‘their ancestral relationship to the earth,'” according to a story published Wednesday in Reuters.
While [the Pope] did not name the pipeline, he used strong and clear language applicable to the conflict, saying development had to be reconciled with “the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories”. …
Speaking in Spanish, Francis said the need to protect native territories was “especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth”.
Some comments on a listserve of Native American scholars and allies took the Pope to task for being a late comer, noting that the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) passed in 2007. (In fairness to Francis, he did not become Pope until 2013.)
Pope Francis’ statement stands in stark contrast to an oil company executive who is comparing the DAPL protestors to terrorists, according to a Wednesday story in Minnesota Public Radio. Joey Mahmoud, executive vice president of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, made his comments at a hearing before a U.S. House energy subcommittee, it said. Continue reading