Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in Featured

Oceti Sakowin Leads Battle to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline by Matt Remle

Oceti Sakowin Leads Battle to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline by Matt Remle

This week, construction of the Dakota Access pipeline saw an increased escalation of protest as the company moved to begin construction near the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and across the Missouri River. The Dakota Access pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge.

The pipeline has been long opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, farmers, home owners, environmentalist, defenders of land, water and treaty rights and other regional tribes. Opposition to the pipeline became a central issue to Iowans during the Iowa caucuses when caucus goers sought to get candidates to express their opposition to the pipeline.

Timeline of recent events

On April 1st, the Camp of the Sacred Stones was established on Standing Rock to serve as a spiritual camp to block the construction of the pipeline.

On July 26th, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approved most of the final permits necessary to allow for the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline, is a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that would carry Bakken crude from western North Dakota to a distribution hub Illinois on route for refinement in the Gulf Coast. Once built, the Dakota Access pipeline will transport as much as 450,000 barrels of oil per day with a future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day.

Proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On July 27th, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws.

On August 5th, youth from the Oceti Sakowin and allies with the ‘Run for Our Water‘ relay run arrived in Washington D.C. after embarking on a cross country run from North Dakota to deliver a message to President Obama and the Army Corp of Engineers to stop the construction of the pipeline and to protect water, sacred, burial and cultural sites.

On August 10th, workers arrived to began construction of the pipeline across the Missouri River, despite the injunctions filed by tribes.

The following two days protests escalated as numerous people were arrested. The Camp of the Sacred Stones released the following detailing the events of August 11th and 12th.

Ten Arrested As Spirit Camp Warriors Stand in Path of the Dakota Access Pipeline

August 11, 2016
Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Camp of the Sacred Stones, ladonnabrave1@aol.com, (701) 426-2064
Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network, jmbraun57625@gmail.com, (605) 515-4792

Hundreds of defenders from the Camp of the Sacred Stones with Cannon Ball community members and supporters occupied the two main access roads to the Cannon Ball Ranch all day Wednesday, constructing blockades with tipis, banners, and barbed wire to prevent construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They are attempting to halt or stall construction until the preliminary injunction filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is heard on August 24. The tribe holds that the US Army Corps permits violate the National Historic Preservation Act.

Youth from Oceti Sakowin who ran 2,000 miles to the White house to protest the Dakota Access pipeline arrive at from lines in Cannon Ball, ND.

Youth from Oceti Sakowin who ran 2,000 miles to the White house to protest the Dakota Access pipeline arrive at from lines in Cannon Ball, ND.

Local law enforcement affirmed their right to demonstrate and instructed DAPL’s private security forces to leave them alone. The occupation continued through Wednesday night and grew rapidly at dawn on Thursday.

Around 9am, approximately twenty law enforcement units escorted construction crews to a point about halfway between the two roads. Around 10am, DAPL began cutting through the fence to create a new access point to the property. Police established the space with police tape.

Arrest made at Dakota access pipeline protest

Arrest made at Dakota access pipeline protest

Standing Rock members repeatedly asked for workers and law enforcement to produce documents verifying that this new easement had been legally attained, but no proof was shown.

People gathered on either side of the new construction area. Numbers reached over 100 and the crowd included Native and non-Native people, children and elders, and four local Cannonball youth on horseback.

Hundreds Shut Down Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

August 12, 2016
Construction was halted at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) work site Friday when hundreds of Standing Rock Sioux community members and supporters rallied against the destruction of sacred sites along a proposed Missouri River crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Front line water defenders. Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Front line water defenders. Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Numbers swelled throughout the day until the Sheriff’s Department decided the situation was unstable and ordered the DAPL workers to stop work and leave. Word spread among the crowd that workers had uncovered potential human remains. Concerned about desecration of burial sites of their ancestors and relatives, the crowd stormed the gate into the easement, pushing the police lines back and taking control of the newly constructed entrance.

Standing Rock Tribal Council Chairman Dave Archambault was arrested during the confrontation along with Councilman Dana Yellow Fat. They were charged with disorderly conduct for pushing back on a police line formed when protesters tried to prevent pipeline workers from leaving the site. Both have been released from Morton County jail.

Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed for an injunction last week, disputing the US Army Corps of Engineers finding that the pipeline would have no significant impact on village sites, burial grounds, and historic Sundance grounds in the immediate vicinity of the Missouri River crossing at Lake Oahe.

State Archeologist Paul Pika said Dakota Access routed around the 27 cultural sites within the Lake Oahe easement ‘to the best of their ability’ though the company failed to consult tribal bodies and ignored recommendations of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Section 106 Historic Preservation Office (THPO).

Section 106 coordinator from the Standing Rock Tribal Historic Office Ladonna Bravebull Allard said,“The tribes are saying no. The tribes say that our water is sacred, that you cannot go through the Missouri River- you cannot because that is an unresolved land claim. We still own this property.”

Senior THPO officer Jon Eagle Sr. said “Keep in mind, we are defending the ancestral homelands of the Oceti Sakowin.”

Tribes all across the nation have sent supporters to Standing Rock to join the demonstrators on the front lines, while buses carrying hundreds more are expected to arrive Monday.

“Of course it’s emotional these are our relatives and ancestors even their archaeological footprint is sacred to us. We care about our people. We care about all people. These workers are paid mercenaries for Energy Transfer.” said Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network community organizer on DAPL , “Our people are traumatized. Watching them rip into the earth preparing to just casually throw our relatives to the wayside to destroy precious water , this is unbearable for them.”

Walk for Water

On August 13th, a Walk for Water was held where people walked from the Cannon Ball River to the gates where the Dakota Access pipeline construction is taking place.

Walk for water. Photo from Camp of the Sacred Stones

Walk for water. Photo from Camp of the Sacred Stones

Walk for water. Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Walk for water. Photo by Camp of the Sacred Stones.

On Monday, more people are expected to be joining the defenders on the front lines in the effort to stop the pipeline.

by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire. @wakiyan7

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire. @wakiyan7