Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall America’s Historical Shame

by Duane Nichols on August 28, 2016

Protest of Dakota Access Pipeline

Photo: Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota.

From an Article by Sonali Kolhatkar, TruthDig.Com, August 24, 2016

Until a few years ago, the word “occupation” was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.

One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.

The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) has stolen more than a name from American Indians (“dakota” means “friendly” or “allied”). If built, it would pass under the Missouri River twice. The pipeline, which could leak, as many pipelines do, threatens to contaminate the drinking water, crops and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Federal regulatory agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, quietly approved DAPL, which will transport Bakkan crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

Last November, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The rejection was the result of a years-long, hard-fought battle by thousands of activists, many of whom made personal sacrifices, traveled long distances and were even arrested for their acts of civil disobedience.

DAPL, which is only seven miles shorter than Keystone would have been, has not received the same scrutiny. Now, the only thing standing in the way of the pipeline is a growing army of nonviolent protesters blocking construction. An occupation that began in April has grown to about 2,000 and is still growing. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux have set strict rules at the space they are calling Sacred Stone Camp: No weapons, alcohol or drugs.

Members of other North American tribes, including Canadian First Nations, are traveling to the site in solidarity. Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Shailene Woodley and Ezra Miller have lent their support. The protesters are standing firm, and more than 20 people have been arrested.

Jason Coppola, a filmmaker and journalist who has been covering the protests, explained in an interview with me that one of the most important aspects of this story is one that is age-old: The U.S. government is violating its treaty obligations to Native American tribes. According to Coppola, “The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 guaranteed complete and total access, undisturbed access, [of the land] to the Great Sioux Nation of the Oceti Sakowin [Seven Council Fires].” But that treaty has not been respected. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration explains how—as a result of an expedition led in 1874 by Gen. George Armstrong Custer in search of gold on the Black Hills reservation in North Dakota—”[t]o this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux.”

Coppola told me that it is “important to see this fight in the broader context,” because “the Lakota nation and its people have been fighting situations like this for a very long time.” The DAPL dispute is not just about a pipeline running under a river. It is, broadly speaking, about the rights of the original inhabitants of the United States.

At a time when white-supremacist notions are re-emerging and a major-party presidential candidate is encouraging America to hate again, this battle of government and corporate power against Native American rights is an important reminder of the real power dynamics in the U.S. and of who has been denied rights since the founding of the country.

Earlier this year, a group of armed white men led by Ammon Bundy occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon for more than 40 days in protest of federal land ownership. Those occupiers, who garnered far greater mainstream media attention than the DAPL protesters, ignored the fact that the original stewards of the land they were claiming were members of the Burns Paiute tribe. In fact, the tribe fought for decades in court to gain rights to the land, only to be given a paltry few hundred dollars per person as compensation.

By contrast, the very people that the U.S. has historically sold out and continues to betray lead the occupation in North Dakota. Just as it served the needs of white settlers in decades past, the government is putting corporate power and fossil fuel interests over Native American rights in the case of the DAPL project.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, has launched a website with the innocent-sounding name of daplpipelinefacts.com. On it, the company touts seemingly optimistic economic gains, including the creation of “8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs” (contrasted with a mere “40 permanent operating jobs”). It echoes the standard claim of “energy independence” by liberal politicians, saying that the pipeline will help the U.S. be “truly independent of energy from unstable regions of the world,” because “every barrel of crude oil produced in the United States directly displaces a barrel of imported foreign oil.”

Under the “frequently asked questions” section, the website asks: “What is Dakota Access Pipeline’s commitment to protecting sensitive areas and the environment, such as wetlands and culturally important sites?” The lengthy answer addresses only concerns such as restoring seed banks and vegetative cover, but says nothing about the “culturally important sites” that it raises in its own question. The rest of the page focuses mostly on the concerns of private landowners. There is no mention whatsoever of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It is as if the tribe does not exist.

Obama claimed to set his administration apart from previous ones by partnering with Native American communities. He has made it a point to visit reservations, a rare act by presidential standards. In 2014, during a visit to North Dakota, he said he was “determined to partner with tribes … on just about every issue that touches your lives.” Indeed, his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline could be viewed in light of that partnership (Oglala Sioux leader Bryan Brewer called Keystone “a death warrant for our people” during Obama’s visit). In the last few months of Obama’s administration, it remains to be seen whether it will intervene to stop the DAPL despite the approval of federal permits.

Regardless, indigenous activists are determined to occupy their own land for as long as it takes to stop construction of the pipeline. If they succeed, it will be one small measure of justice in a line of injustices going back to the founding of this nation.

READ: Dakota Pipeline Would Make Water the New Oil, Devastating All but the Rich

 READ: The People vs. the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa and the Dakotas

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Robert Kennedy, Jr. September 1, 2016 at 11:40 am

We Stand in Solidarity with Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance, September 1, 2016

The Waterkeeper Alliance and 93 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide sent a letter to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leaders Monday expressing solidarity and unwavering support for efforts to stop the Dakota Access pipeline that threatens their land, water, public health and tribal rights.

The Dakota Access pipeline, which would extend 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, would pass within just half a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, putting sacred sites and culturally important landscapes at risk and posing a devastating public health threat to the Tribe’s drinking water in the event of a spill.

“Waterkeepers across the globe know firsthand how oil spills destroy clean water, wildlife and livelihoods,” Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance, said. “Fossil fuels must be kept in the ground in order to protect water quality, address climate change and protect the lives of future generations. We are united in supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to protect what is rightfully theirs.”

Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper organizations will continue to support Tribal efforts to block the massive project and call on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind all permits and stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This effort is part of the movement to stop polluting pipeline companies who aggressively employ eminent domain for private gain. It is not in the public interest to use the courts to take private and tribal lands without the consent of the landowner in order to profit the shareholders of fossil fuel companies who are making climate change worse.

Source: http://www.ecowatch.com/sioux-nation-dakota-access-pipeline-1993302313.html

See also: http://www.FrackCheckWV.net


Krystal Two Bulls September 4, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Native Americans Hold Largest Convergence in a Century to Oppose Oil Pipeline

Krystal Two Bulls, a Water Protector of Red Warrior Camp, encourages the public to join the opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline which threatens the water supply of the local population:

JAISAL NOOR: It’s being called the largest gathering of Native Americans in a century. This week, eight were arrested in North Dakota, along with 30 in Iowa, trying to halt the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. This is part of a growing indigenous-led movement to stop the pipeline, which will span four states and carry half a million barrels of crude oil. Supporters say it will bring jobs and clean energy, but critics say it endangers drinking water and sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux, and potentially millions of others, in a filed lawsuit in federal court.
Well, now joining us to discuss this is Krystal Two Bulls. She’s a water protector with Red Warrior Camp, and she just returned home to Albuquerque after spending two weeks there.
Thanks so much for joining us.


NOOR: So I wanted to start off by reading you a quote from the company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners. They have told the media they will prosecute protesters to the maximum extent of the law, both criminally and civilly, and they say, quote, “it’s a shameful act by a group of people trying to disrupt our energy security and independence.” The company’s filed a restraining order against the Standing Rock Sioux CEO. Give us your response to this.

TWO BULLS: Well, I think what they’re doing is a shameful act. I mean, destroying or potentially destroying water, I think that’s something that’s major that is something that impacts everybody, not just one corporation. The fact that right now corporations’ rights are being upheld over the people’s rights is really concerning. And so I think that statement from the corporation itself speaks volumes to the state of this country right now.

NOOR: And so talk about what’s been happening in North Dakota. Some have called it the largest gathering of Native Americans in a century. And there’s also other activists. We know you have supporters from Black Lives Matter coming there as well. It’s a massive camp-out. And people are committing civil disobedience. There are supplies coming from all over the country. I was watching a video with 80 trucks of supplies that just came in today. Describe the scene when you were there and what the demands of this movement are.

TWO BULLS: Man. The encampment itself is just beautiful. I mean, I definitely invite everyone to come down and to look at it. And I do agree that it is the largest gathering of tribal nations across this country. Yeah. I mean, the word beautiful just encompasses it. It’s a large encampment right where the Cannonball River meets the Missouri River. We’re located right next to the Cannonball.
This is the first time that the Seven Council Fires — so the seven different bands of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, or also known as the Great Sioux Nation — have been together since 1876, the Battle of Little Bighorn. And that was the only time the U.S. military has been defeated on what they claim to be the United States’ turf. And so all of those tribes have come back together again, in addition to 70-plus more nations from across this country.
And it’s a beautiful sight to see. Definitely a lot of prayer. The camp itself was started by the Sacred Stone Camp. A group of young people had actually stood up and said that they didn’t want this pipeline going through their lands and to potentially contaminate their water–or the water of anybody. And so a group of young people, with the support of elders, started a prayer camp at the Sacred Stone Camp. And this encampment has grown to be — I mean, I think the last numbers were around 2,000, but I would guess it to be around maybe 500-plus more than that. So it’s definitely grown.
We’ve definitely gotten a lot more sport support on the ground. Everyone’s camping. There are some people that choose to stay in places nearby. The camp itself is structured with each–different encampments having different roles. I mean, so there’s definitely direct action folks there. Our leaders are there in prayer and to provide spiritual guidance for us. And we have people there that are welcoming our guests, welcoming people into the territory, into the land. And all those that send donations, all the vehicles that deliver supplies are being welcomed as well, and they’re allowed platforms to share their support and to speak to the people that are there.

So, yeah, I think the word beautiful encompasses it really well.
NOOR: And so the company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, it seems like they’re trying to get this finished as soon as possible as this movement grows. Talk about why you have called for a “Global Weeks of Solidarity” action, which begins September 3 and run through the 17th.

TWO BULLS: We called for the Global Weeks of Action solidarity action because this fight is a lot larger than the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. This fight is about more than just a pipeline and just stopping a pipeline, because there’s thousands of pipelines that run through this country. And we acknowledge that. We also acknowledge that there’s a dependency on oil.
And so what we’re saying is that with this energy that’s being created right now, the movement that’s being created is larger than any of that. Not only can we shut down this pipeline, but we can start addressing and changing those systems that allow for an environment that creates the demand for pipelines. And that’s what we’re saying.
And that’s why we called for the Global Weeks of Action is because we want our allies to know that when water’s contaminated, it affects all of us. It doesn’t matter your race, your background, if you’re poor, if you’re rich, black, white, yellow, purple, whatever it might be; when water is contaminated, it’s gone. That affects all of us.
And so we have to focus on those commonalities. We have to focus on that common thread that connects us all. And that is water.
And that’s why with our beliefs we say water is life. And so we need to protect it and respect it as such. And that’s why we put out the call for solidarity actions, because we feel that we’re not the only ones that are fighting this fight.

NOOR: And so another big date is next Friday, September 9. The Standing Rock Sioux have filed a preliminary injunction against the pipeline, and a ruling is expected on the ninth or around that day. That’s according to The Wall Street Journal. Can you talk about the latest with that case? And do you think that public pressure could influence the court?

TWO BULLS: So the way it’s set up right now, there is a lawsuit pending between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and, I believe, the Army Corps of Engineers. But the September 9 date is specifically referring to an injunction to stop and halt construction while that separate lawsuit is ongoing. And so the September 9 date is specifically to hear whether the judge will side with the people and stop construction, or if they will side with the corporations and allow construction to continue while a lawsuit is actually pending. And so that’s what we’re hearing back. And we’re fully confident that public opinion will have some say in this. And that’s why we launched the Weeks of Solidarity is so that we can get everyone engaged in this and we can put some pressure on the folks that are going to be making these big decisions that impact everybody.

NOOR: Well, Krystal Two Bulls, thank you so much for joining us. And we look forward to having you on again to keep us updated on this story.

Source: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php

See aldo: http://www.FrackCheckWV.net


Democracy Now! September 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm

VIDEO: Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Native American Protesters with Dogs and Pepper Spray

Source: Democracy Now!, September 4, 2016 http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/4/dakota_access_pipeline_company_attacks_native

On September 3, the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they protested against the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction. If completed, the pipeline would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield to Illinois. The project has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and members of nearly 100 more tribes from across the U.S. and Canada.

Democracy Now! was on the ground at Saturday’s action and brings you this report:

VIDEO Dakota Access Pipeline Co Attacks Native American Protesters with Dogs & Pepper Spray https://t.co/opaGFmyLxjpic.twitter.com/uXfFAxKkej

More photos & video: Native American pipeline protesters attacked by dogs in North Dakota. https://t.co/opaGFmyLxjpic.twitter.com/k6QXYUGtts

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman: Dakota Access Pipeline ‘Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe’

Native Activist Winona LaDuke: Pipeline Company Enbridge Has No Right to Destroy Our Future


Associated Press September 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Oil pipeline protest turns violent in southern North Dakota

By James MacPherson, Associated Press, September 3, 2016

Bismark, ND (AP) — A protest of a four-state, $3.8 billion oil pipeline turned violent Saturday after tribal officials say construction crews destroyed American Indian burial and cultural sites on private land in southern North Dakota.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured after several hundred protesters confronted construction crews Saturday afternoon at the site just outside the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. One of the security officers was taken to a Bismarck hospital for undisclosed injuries. The two guard dogs were taken to a Bismarck veterinary clinic, Preskey said.

Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed, he said. Preskey said law enforcement authorities had no reports of protesters being injured.

There were no law enforcement personnel at the site when the incident occurred, Preskey said. The crowd disbursed when officers arrived and no one was arrested, she said.

The incident occurred within half a mile of an encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest of the oil pipeline that is slated to cross the Missouri River nearby.

The tribe is challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access pipeline, which crosses the Dakotas and Iowa to Illinois, including near the reservation in southern North Dakota. A federal judge will rule before Sept. 9 whether construction can be halted on the Dakota Access pipeline.

The tribe fears it’s a project they fear will disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for thousands of tribal members on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and millions further downstream.

The protest Saturday came one day after the tribe filed court papers saying it found several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” along the path of the proposed pipeline.

Tribal preservation officer Tim Mentz said in court documents that the tribe was only recently allowed to survey private land north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Mentz said researchers found burials rock piles called cairns and other sites of historic significance to Native Americans.

Standing Rock Sioux chairman David Archambault II said in a statement that construction crews removed topsoil across an area about 150 feet wide stretching for 2 miles.

“This demolition is devastating,” Archambault said. “These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”

Preskey said the company filmed the confrontation by helicopter and turned the video over to authorities. Protesters also have posted some of the confrontation on social media.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a statement that “individuals crossed onto private property and accosted private security officers with wooden posts and flag poles.”

“Any suggestion that today’s event was a peaceful protest, is false,” his statement said.

Source: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dca1962d120b4b069c0436280ad62bd1/oil-pipeline-protest-turns-violent-southern-north-dakota


ABC News Update September 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Judge Grants Partial Stop on North Dakota Pipeline Work

From ABC News, September 6, 2016

An American Indian tribe succeeded Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a portion of a $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline, but their broader request still hangs in the balance.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land. It wasn’t immediately clear how long of a stretch on which work will stop.

He also said he’ll rule on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s challenge of federal regulators’ decision to grant permits to the Texas-based operators of Dakota Access pipeline, which will cross North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, by the end of Friday.

A weekend confrontation between protesters and construction workers near Lake Oahe prompted the tribe to ask Sunday for a temporary stop of construction. Four private security guards and two guard dogs received medical treatment, officials said, while a tribal spokesman noted that six people — including a child — were bitten by the dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

Dakota Access attorney Bill Leone said during Tuesday’s hearing that if it weren’t for the stoppages, the section in question would be finished by the end of this week.

Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II issued a statement after the ruling, saying: “Today’s denial of a temporary restraining order … west of Lake Oahe puts my people’s sacred places at further risk of ruin and desecration.” Attorney Jan Hasselman with Earthjustice, who filed the broader lawsuit on behalf of the tribe, noted the tribe will “know more by the end of the week about where we’re heading.”

A spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages requesting comment.

Leone also said in court that there were two more attacks on crews in North Dakota on Tuesday. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said law enforcement officers pulled back from responding to a report of 150-200 protesters gathered at a construction area on private land because they determined it wasn’t safe to response.

He said some protesters had hatchets and knives, and two secured themselves to heavy equipment. No pipeline workers were at the site, and no arrests have been made.

Over the weekend, workers allegedly bulldozed sites on private land that Hasselman said in court documents was “of great historic and cultural significance to the tribe.” The tribe’s cultural expert, Tim Mentz Sr., said in court documents that the tribe believes there are human remains in the area and that it wants “an opportunity to rebury our relatives.”

“The elders say that reburying can help deal with the loss and hurt of disturbing these graves,” he said.

Lawyers for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners filed court documents Tuesday morning denying that workers have destroyed any cultural sites and asking the judge to reject the tribes’ request for a temporary work stoppage. The company said it “has taken and continues to take every reasonable precaution” to protect cultural sites.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t oppose the tribe’s most recent request, with Assistant Attorney General John Cruden saying in court documents that “the public interest would be served by preserving peace.”

The tribe’s outstanding lawsuit attempts to halt construction of the pipeline, which is due to be finished this year. The suit says the project violates several federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, will harm water supplies on the reservation and downstream and disturb ancient sacred sites.

Hundreds of protesters have camped out near the reservation for weeks. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who advocates for clean energy, spent Monday evening with them and used red spray paint to write “I approve this message” on the blade of a bulldozer, a spokeswoman said.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/corps-oppose-tribes-request-stop-work-pipeline-41889790


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