The Dakota Access Pipeline and Indigenous People.
MK Nature Design has become aware of a conflict between Indigenous people wanting to protect water and sacred Indian land from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Violence between the Indigenous people and the security guards of the pipeline has occurred. A federal order has been issued to stop work beneath the Missouri River and near Lake Oahe.
Indigenous Network states that a federal court stated that they will rule next month about the North Dakota Pipeline. The pipeline will be used to bring oil from Canada to the southern United States and then the oil will be exported to Europe and Asia. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an injunction against the Bakken Pipeline. This is what the pipeline has been named. The Indigenous people say that the pipeline will pass through sacred land and the oil could threaten it’s water supply.
Yesterday, Judge Boesberg ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (The Washington Post, Sept 9 2016). But the decision was put on hold by a federal order to stop construction near the tribes reservation yesterday. The federal order came from the Obama Administration. Construction will be stopped until the Army Corps of Engineers can review their decision. The tribe states that the Army Corps of Engineers had not consulted them about environmental impacts and historical preservation as required by law. However, most of the pipeline is on private land (The Atlantic, September 9, 2016). A statement by the Justice, Army and Interior departments was issued. It stated that the government will review the need for a) more consultation with tribes regarding proposed infrastructure plans and b) the possibility of new legislation promoting this goal. The 1172 mile long pipeline will transport half a million barrels of oil per day and traverse four states. In July the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the US Army Corps stating that the pipeline could discharge materials at multiple locations on their ancestral land without proper permission. Tribal leaders say that oil leaks will impact the Missouri River and Lake Oahe which is a source of water for 8,000 people on the reservation. The pipeline will also cross lands of great historical and cultural significance to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Army Corps of Engineers confirms that there is no right of easement for the Dakota Pipeline (Counter Current, August 29, 2016).
When the Dakota Pipeline workers began to work on sacred land, Indigenous people tried to stop them which resulted in dogs and pepper spray being used on protesters/protectors by the security guards of the pipeline (National Observer, September 4, 2016). Six protectors and one child were bitten and 30 people were pepper sprayed. Tribal leaders state that Indigenous burial lands and cultural sites were affected.
CNN (Friday September 9, 2016) states that the National Guard was on standby ready to intervene in the Dakota Pipeline dispute this weekend. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is happy that their voices have been heard.
If the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was not properly consulted with respect to environmental issues and historic use of land (ie. sacred burial sites) then the continuation of this pipeline on their land is wrong. Not only is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe standing up for it’s rights with respect to their land and drinking water but they are also standing up for Climate Change. It is time that oil companies realize that oil production and pipelines are a thing of the past. With the phasing in of renewables these large pipelines (infrastructure) will be obsolete. In addition, are Canadian deposits of oil big enough to sustain pipelines of this magnitude. How long will the pumping of this oil occur. Is it worth investing millions of dollars for something that will be phased out eventually? However the main thing is the Indigenous rights were not upheld in the beginning of this project and will have to be heard and respected. I think that the public outcry with respect to this issue will help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stand up to the Dakota Pipeline and perhaps win the argument. Continue to watch as this unfolds and be ready to take action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe when the time comes or even now. There is a group on Facebook who you could join to help. It’s called Sacred Stone Camp.
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