Indigenous groups from around Oceania have sent their support to the ongoing struggle in North Dakota.

 While protectors at Standing Rock and West Papua may seem worlds apart, they share a common bond from an indigenous struggle against a larger oppressor explained, West Papua’s independence leader Benny Wenda in a letter of solidarity and friendship on Thursday.

“On behalf of the people of West Papua we offer solidarity to our Indigenous brothers and sisters as we intimately understand the complicated struggles they are facing,” said Wenda via his website.

Wenda said that his independence movement was drawing parallels and inspiration from the ongoing protests in North Dakota and was “alarmed that their people, lands, and traditional ways of life have become threatened to the point of extinction.”

“As we witness militarized law enforcement agencies against peaceful water protectors in the U.S., it reminds us of our own mistreatment at the hands of those intending to overpower and silence our voices,” he said.

Wenda added that “the urgent situation at Standing Rock reminds us to advocate for the right of every Indigenous person to protect their culture and religion, tribal systems and natural resources.”

Around the world, supporters have joined into to celebrate “West Papuan Independence Day” through the hashtags #GlobalFlagRasing and #LetWestPapuaVote.

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