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Standing Rock Protest Continues After Months As Tribe Fights For Ancestral Sites And Against Pipeline

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Standing Rock Protest Continues After Months As Tribe Fights For Ancestral Sites And Against Pipeline


The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, together with more than a thousand indigenous activists from multiple other tribes, today continued their months-long protest of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion project that would transport oil across the state.

The protests began on April 1, and have shown no signs of slowing since then. The proposed pipeline would be 1,172 miles long and would run through South Dakota and Iowa, as well, to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has sued federal regulators for approving the pipeline in the first place, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s decision to grant over 200 permits for water crossings. The tribe argues the pipeline could harm drinking water for the more than 8,000 tribe members who live less than a mile downstream. The tribe also says the pipeline could impact the drinking water of millions more who live further way.

The suit also invokes the National Historic Preservation Act, as the tribe argues the pipeline could disturb ancient sites outside the reservation.

The protests are located in Sacred Stone Spirit camp, and have said their protest is intended to remain peaceful.

Work on the pipeline was paused recently after Energy Transfer Partners LP claimed its workers were under threat. The construction crews are now being guarded by police and independent security contractors and have won restraining orders against the protesters. Over 20 arrests have also been made.

Dave Archambault, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe told Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman that the pipeline was a threat to the health of members of his tribe.

“And we never had an opportunity to express our concerns,” Archambault continued.

“This is a corporation that is coming forward and just bulldozing through without any concern for tribes. And the things that have happened to tribal nations across this nation have been unjust and unfair, and this has come to a point where we can no longer pay the costs for this nation’s well-being. We pay for economic development, we pay for national security, and we pay for energy independence. It is at our expense that this nation reaps those benefits. And all too often we share similar concerns, similar wrongdoings to us, so we are uniting, and we’re standing up, and we’re saying, ‘No more.'”

The Standing Rock protest has recently been gaining ground and publicity: actors Susan Sarandon, Riley Keough and Shailene Woodley joined the protest, through a demonstration outside a courthouse in Washington D.C. After the restraining orders were granted to the construction company, the tribe sought a preliminary injunction to stop construction. No decision has been made yet, but one is expected by District Court Judge James Boasberg by September 9.

“I’m here as a mother and a grandmother to thank the people of the Standing Rock community for bringing our attention to this horrible thing that is happening to their land, which in turn will endanger all of us … because all of our waters are connected,” said Sarandon, according to Reuters.

The Standing Rock protest is not the first of its kind, by a long shot. Opposition to the proposed Keystone pipeline, for example, went on for years.

Protesters include young tribe members, but also those who have a history of protesting government oppression of indigenous rights, including some protesters who participated in the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff to demand treaty rights.

The protest has been compared by some to Cliven Bundy and his son Ammon’s battle with the U.S. government for years over unpaid grazing fees and control of land. Ammon Bundy, with the help of his brother Ryan, undertook occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year. According to Indian Country Today Media Network, the refuge the Bundy boys were occupying was formerly the Malheur Indian Reservation.

Photo: Dakota Access Pipeline protest at the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Flickr/Tony Webster



  1. Bill Goode August 29, 2016

    Does anyone know why this oil has to be piped 600 miles to be refined? Why can it not be refined at its source near Willistion, North Dakota?

    1. ray August 29, 2016

      Its cheaper to build a pipeline than a refinery.

      1. Bill Goode August 29, 2016


      2. FireBaron August 30, 2016

        Also, despite any claims to the contrary, no permits for new refinery construction have been filed by any oil company since the Reagan Administration. They have been shutting down older refineries, though, and not replacing them. All to reduce the available supply in order to increase demand. Unfortunately for Big Petro, car companies have been steadily improving the MPG ratings of the cars resulting in less oil consumed for more miles driven.

        1. dpaano August 30, 2016

          Pretty soon, the oil companies are going to go under when more people start buying more fuel-efficient and electric powered vehicles! Wonder what they’ll do then….maybe go into pharmaceuticals???

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

    Now might be a good time to make amends for our centuries of mistreatment and displacement of people from their lands, reaping the benefits of minerals and grazing rights in the process.

    Congress and other responsible people should sit down and consult with the people at Standing Rock and not insist on further raping the land in order to provide cheap energy, and do so by listening for a change and not in a paternalistic manner, rather than dictating terms and quoting statutes—statutes and laws that have been enacted without input from Indigenous peoples.

    That’s something that will help “Make America Great” at last.


    “Say: no man can attain his true station except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity. No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation.”
    (Bahá’u’lláh, from a Tablet – translated from the Arabic)

    “Consultation bestoweth greater awareness and transmuteth conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth.
    For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation.”
    (Bahá’u’lláh, from a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

  3. 尚爱思笑话 August 29, 2016


  4. Jon August 30, 2016

    I agree with the protestors that tribal lands and the environment around them should be respected and not be used to enrich oil companies. I really doubt that Donnie who refers to women with Native American ancestors as “Pocahontas” will be sensitive to their legitimate demands.

  5. dpaano August 30, 2016

    Just a continuing saga of how the U.S. government is screwing the Indians who, by the way, were here before we got here!

    1. fortunev August 30, 2016

      Indeed, a 500-year-old racist rape of my people’s land and resources, a continuing destruction of Mother Gaea abetted by Anglo greed.

      1. dpaano August 31, 2016

        I am not an American Indian; however, that doesn’t mean that I’m not ashamed of what our country did to the Indian nations when they moved west. Please know that there are MANY of us in the United States that are equally ashamed of the actions of others many, many years ago. I find it distasteful that the government continues to consider the Indian nations as second rate citizens when they basically “owned” this country well before the English arrived! Please accept my apologies at least…..I’m definitely on your side in this fight!!


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