From Across the Atlantic, A Letter of Support for Standing Rock

Eddie Ladd, Sioned Haf, Robat Idris

Greetings to Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po in the spirit camp Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí.

We write to you from Wales in support of your brave and principled stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). We believe that people who wish to defend the Earth and its valuable resources must stand shoulder to shoulder worldwide. We believe that your values as a people are vital to you, as they are for us. Respect for the Earth, respect for people, respect for your language, respect for your traditions, and resilience to survive despite the harsh blows of history.

Wales – Cymru in our language – is our country. Many have never heard of us! Wales is a small country neighbouring England, with its own language and traditions. It ceased to be a free country centuries ago, and is now part of the United Kingdom. We don’t control many of the things which are important to us.

Many aspects of your battle and history strike a chord with us here in Wales. Here are some examples which we believe strengthen our solidarity with you.

As in your case, but in a different way, water has played an important part in our history. Half a century ago, Capel Celyn was drowned to create Tryweryn reservoir for Liverpool in England, even though virtually everyone of note in Wales was opposed to the act. The whole community had to move from their homes. For many, it seemed like the end of the world. One of us (Eddie Ladd) has created a performance combining dance, words and music, with reference to the Ghost Dance of your people to convey the hopelessness of the inhabitants of the drowned valley.

We’ve seen attacks on our language. Children were punished for speaking the language, which is similar to what happened to your children in the Indian Boarding Schools. The Welsh Language Society is a non-violent organisation which works to defend and restore the language, and backs similar organizations in other countries which fight for minority languages. One of us (Sioned Haf) has been to the fore in this work.

At present the United Kingdom Government wishes to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. This could lead to radioactive contamination over a wide area. Like you we worry about the effects of pollution on ourselves, our children, and on unborn generations. We are also aware that much of your land, and that of other nations in North America have been polluted following mining for uranium. One of us (Robat Idris) is active with the organisation PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) which opposes the Building of the new power station, and like you has to fight against the corporate strength of a large company.

We believe that the brave stand taken by you, the Lakota of Standing Rock, together with your friends from other nations, is of great importance. No water, no life.

Best regards and Tókhi wániphika ní!

Eddie Ladd

Sioned Haf

Robat Idris

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