Pamela Standing, Minnesota Indian Business Alliance
MNI WICONI – Water is Sacred
The world is watching for what will happen next.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s call for action has inspired and rallied people locally, nationally and internationally. They have drawn attention to the pipeline that is rerouted to pass under the Missouri River (at Lake Oahe) just a half a mile upstream of the tribe’s reservation boundary, where a spill would be culturally and economically catastrophic. The pipeline would also pass through areas of great cultural significance, such as sacred sites and burial grounds that federal law seeks to protect.
It has brought over 280 nations and 7000 protectors to Iŋyaŋ Wakáŋaapi Othí – Sacred Stone Camp through the power of prayer and unity to support their efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline!
Though the September 9, 2016 intervention is a huge game changer, there is still much more to do.
In a joint statement released, September 9, 2016 by the Departments of Justice, Army and Interior; “Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to- government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.”
Though on November 5, 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order and in part it stated;
“History has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results. By contrast, meaningful dialogue between Federal officials and tribal officials has greatly improved Federal policy toward Indian tribes. Consultation is a critical ingredient of a sound and productive Federal- tribal relationship.”
And this problem remains.
Throughout the Tribe’s lawsuit, no tribal consultation, and not following environmental protocols is repeatedly outlined.
This type of treatment is not new to Indian Country, but for the first time in over 100 years the Lakota Tribes came together to fight this issue.
As noted in the Joint Statement; “We have seen thousands of demonstrators and protectors come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites.”
In a press release issued by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on September 9, 2016, “Our hearts are full, this an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Today, three federal agencies announced the significant decision to respect tribal sovereignty and stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Army Corps land.”
The Tribe notes, however, that the fight isn’t over to protect sacred sites and the water source for 17 million people who rely on the Missouri River
How You Can Get Involved and Support the Efforts?
- Visit the Standing Rock Youth’s web site and sign their petition at: www.rezpectourwater.com
- To learn about what is needed for camp support go to: www.standingrock.org
- Water and Land protectors will be living at Iŋyaŋ Wakáŋaapi Othí—Sacred Stone Camp and are in the process of building a winter camp.
- If you would like to help, peaceful protectors of the earth and water are welcome to the camp.
- The original route for the proposed pipeline crossed the Missouri River further north, 10 miles upstream of Bismarck, the state North Dakota Public Service Commission documents show the route upstream of Bismarck in a May 29, 2014 map by Energy Transfer.
- The company later rejected this route, citing a number of factors, including more road and wet- land crossings, a longer pipeline, and higher Also listed as a concern was the close proximity to wellheads providing Bismarck’s drinking water supply.
- The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been actively opposing the permitting and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline since the Tribe first learned of the proposal in 2014 and the pipe- line’s proposed construction.
- April 1, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has set up a sacred camp (to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline). Iŋyaŋ Wakáŋaapi Othí, or Sacred Rock Camp, is located near Cannonball, a community on the North Dakota portion of the The site is only about a half-mile from the proposed route of the 1,100-mile pipeline.
- July 27, 2016, Tribe brings lawsuit to Federal Court, Washington DC, against the Army Corps of Engineers. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is deeply concerned about the construction of a major crude oil pipeline that passes through its ancestral
- August 24, 2016, US District Court judge announces, resolution of construction issues involving the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation has been postponed until at least September 9,
- September 6, 2016, S. District Judge James Boasberg agreed today to temporarily halt construction on a portion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, but his decision fell short of protect- ing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s burial grounds that were plowed up by the pipeline company over Labor Day weekend.
- September 9, 2016, the administration of S. President Barack Obama on Friday moved to temporarily block construction of a controversial four-state pipeline shortly after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lost a bid before the U.S. Federal Court to stop the project.