Aug 18, 2016 - Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Responds to Lawsuit filed by Dakota Access Owners
“With so much happening in recent days regarding the Dakota Access pipeline, I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure that the position of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is clear.
Today, the federal court in North Dakota issued an order prohibiting people from “unlawfully interfering” with the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. As we have said from the beginning, demonstrations regarding Dakota Access pipeline must be peaceful. There is no place for threats, violence or criminal activity. That is simply not our way. So, the Tribe will do all it can to see that participants comply with the law and maintain the peace. That was our position before the injunction, and that is our position now.
Over the last days, I have spent a great deal of time, meeting and speaking with participants in the demonstration, tribal government and spiritual leaders, state and local law enforcement officials and others. In all of these meetings, my message has been consistent – we need to work together in peace. And, as I continue to spread this message, I believe that the word is getting out. Standing Rock wants there to be peace.
I strongly believe in the right of the people to be heard regarding the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline presents a threat to our lands, our sacred sites and our waters, and the people who will be affected must be heard. Peaceful demonstration can be very powerful and effective. But the power of peaceful demonstration is only diminished by those who would turn to violence or illegality. We cannot let that happen. The Tribe is committed to doing all it can to make sure that the demonstrations are conducted in the right way.
Over the last year, I have spent a great deal of time addressing the Tribe’s concerns regarding the Dakota Access pipeline. I have met repeatedly with federal officials from many agencies to express the Tribe’s strong opposition and to let them know that we will be heard. Next week, there is a hearing in the federal district court in Washington, D.C., in the lawsuit that the Tribe brought, challenging the legality of the Corps of Engineers’ action on the Dakota Access pipeline. Our basic position is that the Corps of Engineers has failed to follow the law and has failed to consider the impacts of the pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Finally, I would like to thank those who have stood with us. Thank you to our youth runners from the Oceti Sakowin, who ran from North Dakota to Washington, DC, carrying 160,000 signatures on a petition opposing the pipeline. Your efforts made us proud. Thank you to other tribes who have supported our efforts. And thank you to all those other citizens nationwide who have helped us along the way. Let us continue to stand united, working together in a good way, and let us hope that in the end, justice is done.”
Statement of Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe