Fernandeño Tataviam Tribal citizens visit camp in North Dakota to bring supplies for the winter and to help with daily tasks.

The Fernandeño Tataviam tribe formally expressed their support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe shortly after the Sioux’s “Call to Action” on August 15, 2016.

In an open letter to Chairman Dave Archambault II, Fernandeño Tataviam Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. acknowledged the ongoing hurdles met by all indigenous peoples to protect and preserve the resources that are rightfully theirs. The letter emphasized the Fernandeño Tataviam tribe’s own parallel struggle to maintain land and resources within their Los Angeles County homelands:

“Where there were sources of water, there were ongoing threats of encroachment and historic cases of illegal land grant dispossessions from our ancestors,” said Fernandeño Tataviam Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. in the letter to Chairman Dave Archambault II. “Though the settler government will never understand your connection to these lands and resources, it will quickly be reminded of your resilience, strength, and will.”

Click here to read the letter.

Hundreds of Tribal Flags lining the main encampment, showing indigenous nations’ support to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the DAPL. Photo by Yvonne Hebert, Tataviam. December 10, 2016. 

The Fernandeño Tataviam tribe has provided donations, supply drives, and on-ground physical support to the water protectors.

Many tribal citizens have travelled over 1,500 miles to protect the sacred waters and ancestral land of the Standing Rock Sioux, including Yvonne Hebert, Caroline Ward, and more.

Caroline Ward Holland, Tataviam, pictured center with “Tataviam” Sign, November 2016.

“This place is powerful in prayer and medicine,” says Caroline Ward Holland about Camp Oceti Sakowin. “The people are how the world should be: everyone helps each other.”

That being said, the freezing weather at the camp makes for dangerous living conditions. These temperatures and hazardous travelling conditions provide reason for Chairman Archambault’s recommendation for water protectors to return home.

“I went out on a prayer action and spent 4 hours in the back of a truck, nearly got hypothermia, and when I got back to camp it took an hour for me to get warm,” says Caroline.

“We delivered supplies to 2 groups who plan to stay indefinitely. Lots of people were being evacuated due to an incoming blizzard. We had been offered lodging at 2 different camps, but decided to leave even though we originally planned to stay for at least a week. The Medic and Healers staff advised us not to stay. Since that was my reason for going, it seemed inappropriate to stay,” says Yvonne Hebert.

R to L: Yvonne Hebert and daughter Sabrina, Tataviam, at Camp Oceti Sakowin in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. December 10, 2016.

On December 15, 2016, Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. and Chairman of the Council of Elders Alan Salazar met with Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault II. To read about the meeting, click here.