Indigenous Peoples’ Campaign


Welcome to the Information and Resources page for the Indigenous Peoples’ Campaign.

Here, you can view our livestream panel, find out more about #NoDAPL, and view our Toolkit.

As part of MuslimARC’s commitment to advancing justice, we are supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against and raising awareness beginning with a crowdfunding awareness campaign. The goal for our #Indigenous Peoples’ Campaign are as follows:

  1. Educate the public about Native and Indigenous resilience and how non-Natives can be accomplices in decolonization and anti-racism, ultimately, in a liberatory project that frees us all.
  2. Raise awareness about Indigenous led environmental justice efforts, with an emphasis on Indigenous spirituality in the protection of sacred lands, Inform readers about #NoDAPL and as well as 
  3. Amplify the voices of Native and Indigenous Muslims, such as Native Muslims on Twitter @mocosamoments, @AlyaJessC , @kamirarin, @IssaSmithSmith and @kuumbalynx and Turtle Island Muslims, a Facebook group for and by Native Muslims.
  4. Endorse replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day of Action and Reflection on October 10th and challenge colonial narratives during Thanksgiving on November 24th
  5. Support Native Muslim effort to winterize #OcetiSakowin through the LaunchGood crowdfund.






#MuslimsAtSacredStone aim to raise awareness about the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and Native Muslims who are at the intersections. Our panel features Muslims from various backgrounds, including Lakota, Diné, K’iche Spanish speaking Indigenous, and mixed African American-Indigenous. We hope to touch upon identity, Indigenous Rights, systemic racism, and Muslim solidarity. #Muslims4NoDAPL

Please join us for an important Livestream conversation on #IndigenousPeoplesDay Monday 10/10/16 at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT.

Watch the Livestream:

Or view from our YouTube Page.

Moderator: Margari Hill, Programming Director of MuslimARC
Guest Presenters (in order of speaking):

  • Imam Zaid Shakir: Zaid Shakir has taught courses in Arabic, Islamic spirituality, contemporary Muslim thought, and Shafi’i fiqh at Zaytuna College. He presently teaches Islamic history and politics. He speaks and writes on a wide range of topics and has become a voice of conscience for American Muslims as well as people of other faiths. He is regularly included as one of the Western world’s most influential Muslim scholars in The Muslim 500, an annual ranking edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin. He is also one of the signatories of “A Common Word Between Us and You,” an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders that calls for peace and mutual understanding. He holds an MA in Political Science from Rutgers University. He is one of three co-founders of Zaytuna College and serves on its Board of Trustees.
  • Leslie Henderson Oajaca (Ki’che’ Spanish speaking Indigenous): Leslie Henderson Oajaca is a Spanish speaking Indigenous Muslim of the K’iche’/ Maya people of Guatemala and has been a convert for 13 yrs. She has volunteered for numerous Muslim organizations and served as a Helping Hands LA representative. Her work supports, educates, and empowers Spanish speaking Muslims in the US, Mexico, and Guatemala.
  • Mark Crain: (African American/Lakota): Mark Crain is a digital strategist, community organizer, and online campaigner based out of Detroit. He’s the Mobile Innovation Director at, is a co-founder of MPower Change, and is the project director for Dream of Detroit — a Muslim-led and community-based neighborhood development group. Mark previously spent time at the Obama 2012 campaign, Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network, and, once upon a time, managing his own web design firm, DeCrain Solutions.
  • LaTanya Barlow: (Dineh and Chiricauhua-Apache): LaTanya Barlow is of Diné & Chiricahua-Apache descent. Sr. LaTanya is a very active member of the Southern California community and served as ICNA Greater Los Angeles Chapter’s Programs Coordinator before dedicating her time to ICNA Relief’s Social Services. She has completed WhyIslam’s Dawah Certification Program and now assists the WhyIslam Ansar Team.She has completed her first year of Islamic Studies at the California Islamic University in Fullerton and is currently enrolled at the Institute of Knowledge in Diamond Bar, CA. She earned her Associate’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Maryland-College Park while serving in the United States Marine Corps. Sr. LaTanya has worked widely within our community with notable organizations such as the Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Relief USA, Helping Hand, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and Muslim Girl Scouts.
  • Brother Basheer (Lakota from the Cheyenne River Sioux): Louis Butcher Jr. aka brother Basheer is a member of the Lakota from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, that is connected to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He converted to Islam in September of 2001. He will serve as ambassador between Muslim delegations arriving through Indigenous People’s Day (October 10th) and Thanksgiving (November 24) and beyond. He currently lives in the area and will act as an ambassador, teaching Muslim delegations the ways of the Lakota and assisting in authentic relationship building.


For regular updates see the Facebook Event Page.



The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has resisted the Dakota Access Pipeline through direct action and lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. The #NoDAPL struggle raises a number of important issues and important opportunities for Muslim Americans to stand on the side of environmental justice, indigenous sovereignty, and anti-racism. In her essay on Heteropatriarchy and White Supremacy, Andrea Smith writes that the three pillars of White Supremacy are: Slavery/Capitalism, Genocide/Colonialism, and Orientalism/War, highlighting that “…all non-Native peoples are promised the ability to join in the colonial project of settling indigenous lands” (pg. 69).  Smith continues, “…Our alliances would not be solely based on shared victimization, but where we are complicit in the victimization of others” (pg. 70).  Mark Sundeen calls Standing Rock, “…a conflagration of America’s two most volatile issues—racism and climate change”

#StandingRock and #NoDAPL Talking Points

Native Sovereignty and Land Rights –Non-Natives benefit from the genocide and theft of Native land. Asian American activist,  Ari Laurel writes, “Between 1779 and 1871, the US entered over 500 treaties with Native American tribes, all of which have been broken or nullified.” Historian Clay Jenkinson explains:

…Standing Rock Lakota are a separate nation within the states of North and South Dakota; just how their land was confiscated by the citizens and the government of the United States; how the reservation system was born, and for what historical purposes; how reservations were shattered by the Dawes Act of 1887, which allowed non-Indians to homestead on tribal lands that were deemed–by white policy makers–as “surplus.”

David Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, points out, “…the tribes have always paid the price for America’s prosperity.”

Land Conservation- We are custodians of the Earth and should follow the lead of Indigenous people who have been on the forefront of conserving natural resources. David Archambault II  explains, “This fight is not just for the interests of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, but also for those of our neighbors on the Missouri River: The ranchers and farmers and small towns who depend on the river have shown overwhelming support for our protest.”  Oil pipelines leak all the time. It is not a matter of if, but when the pipe leaks. Muslim Americans can learn a great deal from Indigenous people and their spiritual connection with the Creation. Jack Jenkins, senior writer for Think Progress, explains,  “The diverse constellation of Native theologies articulated at Standing Rock and other indigenous protest camps champions the reverse: they seek to protect land, water, and other natural resources from further human development, precisely because they are deemed sacred by indigenous people.”

Broken Treaties – this is the third broken treaty that has violated the sovereignty of the Sioux Nation in the region. David Archambault II writes, “Although federal law requires the Corps of Engineers to consult with the tribe about its sovereign interests, permits for the project were approved and construction began without meaningful consultation.”

Systemic racism- the original plan for the pipeline threatened a predominantly White town, but they moved the plans closer to Standing Rock Reservation. David Archambault II points out the way his community has been targeted by authorities, saying, “In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians.” Jenkins writes:  

And in addition to their secular allies in the climate movement, indigenous groups are also attracting partners in non-Native faith traditions. Representatives from the Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, and the United Methodist Church have all visited the Standing Rock camp or expressed solidarity with the protesters, as has the Nation of Islam, according to the Religion News Service.

Native Americans have faced systemic racism, including over-policing, as well as education and wealth disprities. Ari Laurel writes:

For Native Americans, many tribes suffer from high mortality rates, unemployment as high as 95%, and with more than 80% of people living below the federal poverty line. Racial profiling, sexual assault, trafficking, and lack of access to adequate healthcare is common among marginalized communities.

Standing for the most marginalized and oppressed is incumbent upon all believers.

A number of Muslim activists plan to travel to Standing Rock this Fall to lend their support and raise awareness. While #NoDAPL is a new issue to the broader Muslim American community, there have been Native and Indigenous Muslims who live or have travelled to Standing Rock or other reservations in the MidWest. Many Native Muslims across the country,  want to help their people, and express a longing to join the Sacred Stone Camp, which is a place of prayer.  The construction was halted because of direct action and the continual attention Sacred Stone Camp has in the media.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. (Qur’an 4:135)

On Monday September 19th, MuslimARC organized our first national call in for #SupportStandingRock. Nearly 60 Muslims from across the country joined the call. Out of that call, we have developed action items. As Leslie points out, “This kind of attention is a starting point.” On October 3rd, MuslimARC hosted a national Call-In, “Native Voices at StandingRock.”  Our aim is to continue to raise awareness and support Native Muslims. 


Crowdfunding for Standing Rock

Together, we’ve successfully raised over $15,000 #SupportStandingRock Launchgood! 



You can still Support

You can still donate and support Native Muslim led efforts winterize #OcetiSakowin through this LaunchGood crowdfund until December 1st.

Traveling to Standing Rock?


Connect with other Muslims planning to travel to Sacred Stone Camp on Indigenous People Day on the Solidarity between Muslims and Native Americans event page. Complete our survey so that we can stay connected.


View our Toolkit

If you’re unable to view the toolkit, download here. Please utilize the following resources to educate yourself about the issues, to organize town halls and teach ins in solidarity. Be part of this important movement!

Check back often for more updates. Are you planning an action? Have updates? Email us at

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