January 26, 2017

APA Urges Trump Administration to Safeguard Standing Rock Sioux in Response to Memorandum on Dakota Access Pipeline

WASHINGTON — Following is a statement by Antonio E. Puente, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to President Trump’s issuance of a presidential memorandum regarding construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline:

“The American Psychological Association is concerned by President Trump’s apparent attempt to clear the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward as originally planned, which threatens the welfare of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

“Native Americans have been historically marginalized and mistreated by the United States. Research has linked historical trauma to health disparities, including increased likelihood of early death due to substance abuse, unintentional injuries, assault, homicide and suicide.

“APA urges the Army Corps of Engineers to continue to search for alternative routes for the oil pipeline that do not endanger the water supply, sacred burial grounds and treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux. It is critical for the corps to consult with the tribe in this process, as stipulated in the December 16 memorandum by the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works that halted construction on the pipeline project pending further review.   

“This pipeline affects not only Native American citizens but millions of American citizens downstream, who are at risk of suffering the effects of possible exposure to toxic oil spills and dealing with harm to the environment. 

"Given our skills as psychologists, we stand ready to participate in constructive problem resolution, as well as provide support for those who were and remain in harm’s way — physically, psychologically and spiritually.

“We ask that the new administration not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that it respect the sovereignty, welfare and culture of our native peoples.”