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United Religions Initiative Stands with the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee, the Brave

Heart Society and the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred

​STATEMENT OF SUPPORT OF THE IHANKTONWAN TREATY COUNCIL, THE
BRAVE HEART SOCIETY AND THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY TO PROTECT
THE SACRED FROM TAR SANDS PROJECTS

January 15, 2019

Ft. Randall, Ihanktonwan Territory, Yankton Sioux Tribe

Very Honored and Respected Grandmother Faith Spotted Eagle, and other Grandmothers,
Mothers, and Daughters of the Brave Heart Society, the Oceti Sakowin and Protectors of
Mother Earth,

We are the United Religions Initiative (URI), a global grassroots network of 980 Interfaith
Cooperation Circles, in 108 Nations, around Mother Earth. Our work reaches across religious
and cultural divides.

From our inception in 2000, URI has recognized the fundamental importance of including the
voices and full participation of the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth in every dimension of the
work of URI. This importance is expressed in the first sentence of our Charter:

We, people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and ​Indigenous traditions ​throughout the
world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith
cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice, and
healing for the Earth and all living beings.

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director
PO Box 29242, 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0242 USA
vkazanjian@uri.org ~ +1 415 561-2300 ~ www.uri.org

URI is global non-governmental organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
In July 2014, URI convened its first Global Indigenous Initiative Gathering to guide our
International work with Indigenous Peoples. At this historic Gathering, Indigenous spiritual and
cultural Leaders, including the 7th Generation, from six continents, met together in prayerful
consultation. The result of this prayerful consultation is outlined in our URI Global Indigenous
Mandate for Unprecedented, Unified Action for Protecting and Restoring the Sacred:

1. To support the global emergence of the “Seventh Generation”, as promised, by fostering
youth participation, leadership, and wisdom in all decision-making processes impacting
all life on Mother Earth;
2. To create Sacred Gardens to preserve, protect and perpetuate plant life and healing
herbs central to Indigenous communities;
3. To accurately depict Indigenous arts and cultures through the media as expressions of
the Sacred;
4. To protect and restore Sacred Sites for ceremonial use, and the repatriation of all
cultural effects to their Indigenous Peoples of origin.
5. To galvanize connections with various global networks to mutually support the Global
Indigenous Initiative and other Indigenous efforts worldwide;
6. To stop the assault on Mother Earth by extractive industries that are destroying our
waters and lands, and sacred sites, causing a grievous imbalance to the natural laws of
Mother Earth; and
7. To facilitate decision-making by leaders that is good for seven generations into the
future, known by Indigenous People as “seven generations” decision-making.

We honor the Brave Heart Society for your dedication to manifest this vision long before the
inception of URI. The Brave Heart Society, have been, and are a great inspiration in our
understanding and support of Indigenous Peoples, worldwide.

URI recognizes the honored and fundamental importance of embracing the ancient wisdom and
leadership of Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth in manifesting Global Justice, Peace,
Harmony, and Prosperity. Globally, we are deeply moved by the prayerful and peaceful displays
of Sovereignty, Strength and Unprecedented Unity of Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island
and the Americas in Protecting and Restoring our Mother Earth. Most especially, we want to
recognize the Grandmothers, Mothers, and Daughters of the Brave Heart Society and the key

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director
PO Box 29242, 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0242 USA
vkazanjian@uri.org ~ +1 415 561-2300 ~ www.uri.org

URI is global non-governmental organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
role you played, along with the Pawnee Nation and the Four Worlds International Institute
co-organizing, hosting the Gathering

We stand with you in calling for the full implementation of free, prior and informed consent, as
outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as the standard
set forth in all present and future Nation-to-Nation-consultative exchanges across Turtle Island
and affirm that these conditions are at the core of all consultative processes between the
Indigenous Nations and Tribes across the Americas and beyond.

We support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNDRIP, in
its entirety and we are grateful to you and all those at the Protect the Sacred Wopida, who are
standing with you in implementing the Spirit and Intent of UNDRIP, through peaceful,
prayerful, unprecedented, unified action.

URI fully supports your Inherent Sovereignty and Self-Determination and the right of all
Indigenous Peoples to fully express their spiritual and cultural traditions and to determine the life
path of their communities.

We will hold the Gathering to Protect the Sacred in prayer on January 15, 2019. The positive
results and long-range impact of the 2013 Gathering, co-sponsored and hosted by the Brave
Heart Society, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Yankton Treaty Committee, Yankton General Counsel,
the Pawnee Nation and the Four Worlds International Institute, went far, far beyond URI’s
financial support and the financial support of the many other organizations that financially
supported the Gathering to Protect the Sacred, January 2013.

Thank you for your impeccable stewardship of these resources into unprecedented, unified
action, far beyond our expectations. The Brave Heart Society is a great inspiration in our global
work, with many others, to establish peace on our Mother Earth.

We affirm our support of the US Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act which
mandates for the protection of native burial grounds; the American Indian Religious Freedom
Act; and the United Nations International Treaties which protect Sacred Sites worldwide (such as
the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, of which the US is a party).

We avow, under all conditions, that the US Constitution, as well as, the Inherent Sovereignty and
Natural Laws of Indigenous Nations, protect the right of “Free Speech and Assembly.”
Furthermore, that these Sacred Rights be upheld across the Oceti Sakowin, its Territories and

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director
PO Box 29242, 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0242 USA
vkazanjian@uri.org ~ +1 415 561-2300 ~ www.uri.org

URI is global non-governmental organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
beyond. We fully support that the Human Rights of all those lawfully gathered together to
peacefully, to Protect the Sacred, unimpeded by the threat and use of emotional, psychological
and physical violence, of any form.

We stand with the Brave Hearts, the Oceti Sakowin, and all Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth
in Protecting and Restoring, Sacred Sites of our Human Family. Your prayers, ceremonies, faith,
and unprecedented, unified action at the Gathering to Protect the Sacred, January 23-25, 2013,
manifested a Seed Crystal, for historic, unprecedented, unification of Indigenous Peoples, and all
Members of the Human Family, that is now unfolding.

The Brave Hearts and the Oceti Sakowin are a global inspiration for all Peoples and all Nations
who are dedicated to maintaining a Way of Life, based on Spiritual Teachings that respect and
honor the Sacredness of all Life! Especially, the Sacred waters of Mother Earth, on which all life
depends.

We wish to express our gratitude and thanksgiving for all the First Nations and Tribal Peoples
from across Turtle Island and Mother Earth who rallied behind the Gathering to Protect the
Sacred and the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred, physically, and for al those who stand
with you, in prayer and support from afar.

URI commits its solidarity with the Brave Heart Society and the Oceti Sakowin and all
Indigenous Peoples in their efforts to become green, energy, self-sufficient, as you move ahead
to implement sustainable and renewable energy sources. The time has come to free ourselves
from any energy sources harmful to our Mother Earth and our current and future generations.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL, and other related pipelines pose a serious threat
to Sacred Sites and culturally significant locations throughout the Territories of the Oceti
Sakowin and beyond. We recognize, if these Pipelines proceed, they will damage and destroy
Sacred Sites, and the very water on which all Life depends! All Members of the Human Family
have an inherent right to protect their ancestral lands from destruction! It is with this
understanding that we stand united in support of the Brave Heart Society, the Oceti Sakowin
Sioux and all Members of our Human Family who are standing up to Protect and Restore the
Sacred.

URI will continue to stand beside the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth, and pray and take
unprecedented, unified action together. We will continue to pray and take peaceful,
principle-centered, unified action with all Members of our Human Family, until we all

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director
PO Box 29242, 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0242 USA
vkazanjian@uri.org ~ +1 415 561-2300 ~ www.uri.org

URI is global non-governmental organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
understand that your struggle to Protect and Restore the Sacred, in harmony, with natural
physical and spiritual but, as well, for the health, safety, and well-being of all current and future
generations of the Human Family and Life, everywhere on Mother Earth!

In peace,

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr.
Executive Director
United Religions Initiative

Presented on behalf of URI, by Dakota and Chickasaw Elder, Phil Lane, Jr., URI Global
Trustee, to the Gathering to Protect the Sacred Wopida Gathering

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director
PO Box 29242, 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0242 USA
vkazanjian@uri.org ~ +1 415 561-2300 ~ www.uri.org

URI is global non-governmental organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations