Neil Young asks Obama to end violence at Standing Rock camp

Neil Young
Neil Young (Image credit: Getty)

Neil Young has called upon President Barack Obama to step in to end the violence against the oil pipeline protestors in North Dakota.

The singer-songwriter visited the Standing Rock Sioux tribe on his 71st birthday earlier this month and performed a number of songs for activists who oppose the controversial $3.7billion project. Now he’s slammed the “ugliness of corporate America” and the heavy-handed tactics used by police against “peaceful water protectors.”

Young says: “All here together, with their non-native relatives, standing strong in the face of outrageous, unnecessary and violent aggression. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in sub freezing temperatures.

“They stand, their hair frozen from water cannons. They stand for all that is good and they stay strong. Standing together in prayer to protect our most vital life support systems displays a deeply rooted awareness of life’s interconnected nature, and of the intrinsic value and import of traditional ways

“This growing movement stems from love, it is the most human instinct to protect that which we love. An eager and engaged youth are at the core of this pipeline route resistance, learning from a population of elders who pass down unforgotten knowledge.”

He continues: “We are calling upon you, President Barack Obama, to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately.

“Your growing activism in support of freedom over repression, addressing climate change, swiftly replacing a destructive old industries with safe, regenerative energy, encouraging holistic thinking in balance with the future of our planet; that activism will strengthen and shed continued light on us all. These worthy goals must be met for the all the worlds children and theirs after them.”

Read Young’s full statement and watch the accompanying video he shot below.

More than 400 protestors have been arrested so far by heavily militarised law enforcement officers, who have deployed pepper spray, teargas, rubber bullets, Tasers, sound weapons and other methods.

Young’s message follows Lamb Of God man Randy Blythe’s warning to people who want to “raise hell, fight police and cause chaos” to stay away from the Standing Rock protests.

Meanwhile, Young recently announced he will release his new album Peace Trail on December 2 via Reprise Records. It was written and recorded shortly after he released live album Earth earlier this year.

Peace Trails

Peace Trails

Neil Young Peace Trail tracklist

  1. Peace Trail
  2. Can’t Stop Workin’
  3. Indian Givers
  4. Show Me
  5. Texas Rangers
  6. Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders
  7. John Oaks
  8. My Pledge
  9. Glass Accident
  10. My New Robot

The Story Behind The Song: Neil Young - After The Gold Rush

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.