UCSF’s Do No Harm Coalition and the Native American Health Alliance presented Water is Life: From Standing Rock to San Francisco at UCSF on Oct. 26, an awareness and strategic planning event supporting protestors of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Project, who call themselves 'water protectors.'

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Healing At Standing Rock


UCSF students and health care workers are campaigning to provide a free medical clinic for Native Americans facing violence while protesting a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota.

“Upon invitation by the Standing Rock Nation,” stated a press release from the UCSF group, “we are partnering with tribal leadership and local health workers to provide health care at a time where many people have limited access to health care due to geographic location, limited resources at local hospitals, and are subject to a strong police presence in the area.”

The Do No Harm Coalition and the Native American Health Alliance at UCSF have partnered with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Native American leaders in North Dakota to respond to the medical needs of the 2,000 to 7,000 people living at a camp setting near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

“Water is life,” said Winona LaDuke, Standing Rock campaigner, environmentalist, economist and writer. “We are the people who live by the water. Pray by these waters. Travel by the waters. Eat and drink from these waters. We are related to those who live in the water. To poison the waters is to show disrespect for creation. To honor and protect the waters is our responsibility as people of the land.”

The partners behind the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) Health Clinic are raising funds to open the clinic with liability, equipment and medications. The goal of the CrowdFund campaign is $100,000. By Nov. 1, nearly $20,000 had been donated.

The partnership includes Standing Rock Sioux Tribe traditional healers, UCSF, National Nurses United, Herbal Medics, Changing Women Initiative (Navajo midwifery group) and Global Health Care Alternative Project to provide free care to all people in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

The clinic will be staffed by 100% volunteer work, with faculty covering during vacation time. Clinic partners are simultaneously developing curriculum for trainees, including residents, medical students, nursing students and pharmacy students.

The Do No Harm Coalition and Native American Health Alliance at UCSF hosted a panel discussion and strategic planning session entitled Water is Life: From Standing Rock to San Francisco at UCSF’s Parnassus campus on October 26. Over 150 UCSF staff, students, and members of the Bay Area community attended the event.