From Standing Rock to Rotorua

Standing Rock leader Dave Archambault II, who led the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, has shared his experiences with the movement at the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) in Rotorua. 

Global indigenous leader Archambault is urging indigenous business groups to unite.

“I think that unity is power.  Standing with your brothers and sisters when they are faced with adversity brings a sense of calmness because we always need that support and when we see something that is not right and it resonates with us one of the things that we can always do is acknowledge it and stand with those who are faced with it.”

Two years ago, Archambault led the movement opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, America.  

“We also have to participate in the way the government is structured and set up and [have] a voice,” he says. 

It is the first time Archambault has spoken in Aotearoa about his experience, which resonated strongly with Māori.

Michael Naera of Te Arawa says, “He had a really good presentation where he talked about the Black Snake, uniting on a regional, international level and what his people experienced.”

Syretta Clayton, who attended the forum, says, “What grew from that experience is it brought together the two tribes that hadn't spoken for a long time.  People from all over the world...they were put on a world map and so in that was it was a gain.” 

Despite opposition, the pipeline was given the go ahead by the Trump administration last year.

Archmbault is now a chief consulting officer for First Nations healthcare in the United States and continues to work for his people.