experienced by one generation is transferred to subsequent generations through
biological, psychological, environmental and social means,” APA writes.
Psychologists’ research has shown that
historical trauma is linked to health disparities, including increased likelihood of
early death due to unintentional injuries,
assault, homicide and suicide.
“We strongly advocate for the
empowerment of these communities
through continuous, meaningful consultation with tribal leaders as the project
develops,” the letter states.
APA also emphasized that it is very
concerned about the violence that has
occurred in response to protests. “Media
reports describe protesters being held
in dog kennels and shot with rubber
bullets, a frightening continuation of
the historical mistreatment of Native
Americans. We ask that you do whatever
you can to urge law enforcement to
show restraint as they try to diffuse the
conflict,” APA writes.
The letter was signed by APA 2016
President Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, and
Jacqueline Gray, PhD, president of APA
Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological
Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race).
APA coordinated the effort with the
Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP)
and the Council of National Psychology
Associations for the Advancement of
Ethnic Minority Interests, of which SIP
and APA are members. Each organizational member of the council sent
a separate email to President Obama.
According to a statement from SIP
What’s at issue?
The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a
1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline
that would bring crude oil from production areas in the Bakken formation
and Three Forks area of North Dakota
to Patoka, Illinois. According to Energy
Transfer Partners, the company building
the pipeline, the project is a $3.7 billion
investment that could create 8,000 to
12,000 temporary local construction jobs.
The pipeline would run across four
states—North Dakota, South Dakota,
Iowa and Illinois. American Indians
and others are concerned that a part of
the pipeline is planned to go under the
Missouri River just a mile north of the
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The
Standing Rock tribe has stated that the
pipeline’s construction would undermine
its sacred land and be a hazard to its
drinking water supply.
Protestors, who are urging the federal government to revisit the pipeline’s
course, have raised concerns about harsh
treatment by law enforcement.
Why is APA supporting the protestors?
APA outlined its concerns in a Nov. 14
letter to President Barack Obama, which
urged the president to consider re-routing the pipeline. In particular, APA is
concerned about the possibility for future
leakage posing harm to the people of the
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
“As psychologists, we are particularly
troubled by the potential for adverse
neurological effects of oil-contaminated
water,” the letter states. “Moreover, we are
disturbed that the pipeline was consid-
ered too risky to route close to Bismarck,
North Dakota, but not to the Standing
Rock Sioux Reservation.”
APA’s letter also underscored that
American Indian populations have been
historically marginalized and mistreated
by the United States, citing as examples
that not all states recognized American
Indians’ right to vote until 1957, and that
many tribes experienced great loss of life,
land and culture as the result of state and
“This mistreatment is associated
with historical trauma in which the loss
APA SUPPORTS STANDING ROCK WATER
PROTECTORS IN PIPELINE DISPUTE
The association is urging the federal government to re-route the construction of
a pipeline that threatens to undermine tribal drinking water, sacred sites and well-being
“The American Indians
at Standing Rock
have rallied their
courage and their
THE SOCIETY OF INDIAN