Nashville City Council passes resolution in support of Standing Rock Sioux opposition to pipeline
JR American Horse, left, raises his fist with others while leading a march to the Dakota Access Pipeline site. | Will Kincaid/AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On December 6, 2016 the Nashville Metropolitan Council passed a Resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Resolution was sponsored by Council members Erica Gilmore, an African American representative, and Bob Mendes.

On the evening of the December 6, Council session Native American community members and their supporters were present in the council chambers. They were all asked to stand by Councilwoman Gilmore when she presented the resolution.  The document was entitled “A Resolution supporting Native American opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.”   The initiative for the Resolution came from members of the local American Indian community who had been working with the sponsoring Council members beginning in November.

The Resolution recognized the Native American presence in the Nashville area both historically and contemporaneously and included several important points:

  • “Whereas, the city of Nashville is the home of thousands of Native Americans from around the country and is in the historic homeland of the Cherokee nation and has a legacy of activism which continues to this day as many Nashville residents, both Indian and non-Indian have been inspired to take action by going to North Dakota to support the resistance to protect the environment. “
  • Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as supporting the Native American opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline
  • Section 2. That the Metropolitan Council hereby further goes on record as encouraging residents of Nashville to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its efforts to stop the pipeline and to otherwise raise awareness of this struggle.”

The Metropolitan Council advocated for Nashvillians to actively support the  Standing Rock resistance to the pipeline.  With the passing of the resolution, Nashville joined a growing host of other cities nationwide, from Cleveland to Sacramento, from Sitka, Alaska to Asheville, North Carolina, that have championed the cause of the Standing Rock opposition by passing similar resolutions.

The resolution followed a flurry of activity nationally and locally. On December 4, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a decision denying DAPL the easement to cross the Missouri River to complete the pipeline. Locally, there have been for the past several months, often on a weekly basis, demonstrations, fundraisers, university teach-ins and presentations, community gatherings in addition to numerous truckloads of supplies sent to Standing Rock from the Nashville/ Middle Tennessee area. As the Trump administration gives its blessing for the pipeline construction to resume, such local displays of support for the water protectors against the pipeline will become even more important.


Albert Bender
Albert Bender

Albert Bender is a Cherokee activist, historian, political columnist, and freelance reporter for Native and Non-Native publications. He was an organizer and delegate to the First and Second Intercontinental Indian Conferences held in Quito, Ecuador and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Recently, he has been an active participant and reporter in the Standing Rock struggle in North Dakota. He is currently writing a legal treatise on Native American sovereignty and working on a book on the war crimes committed by the U.S. against the Maya people in the Guatemalan civil war of the late 20th century. Albert is also a former staff attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Oklahoma (LSEO) in Muskogee and a consulting attorney on Indigenous sovereignty, land restoration, and Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) issues. He is the recipient of several Eagle Awards by the Tennessee Native American Eagle Organization and a former Director of Native American Legal Departments and a Tribal Public Defender.