Locals join native resistance over Dakota Access Pipeline

Ryan Jackson tribal chair of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council called for “all of the tribal membership and community to take the journey and assist the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their time of great need”

The News report from LAUREN DONOVAN of the Bismarck Tribune (Aug 16, 2016)

pipeline protesters

Arvol Looking Horse, a Sioux holy man from the Cheyenne River Reservation, leads hundreds out of a new protest camp set up near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation boundary to a site along Highway 1806 where the Dakota Access Pipeline has been under protest since late last week. The keeper of a sacred pipe led a long prayer session for peace and the safety of all late Tuesday morning. (bismarcktribune.com)

MORTON COUNTY — Work stopped Tuesday at the site where hundreds of Standing Rock Sioux tribal members and supporters are protesting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the reservation boundary.

The work stoppage gave law enforcement, tribal and state officials time to plan how to manage the protest, with numbers swelling by the hour as busloads of Sioux and others arriving to join the anti-pipeline movement. Arrests are occurring almost daily.

Workers were instructed to leave their equipment late Monday after youthful protesters walked onto the work site and surrounded the machinery. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said the mix of people around the machinery caused him to stop work until an improved plan for safety could be developed.

Kirchmeier said he didn’t know whether work would resume because some options were still in flux Tuesday evening. One option was for the private landowner to allow his fence to be moved back into his property to give protesters more room to assemble off the highway.

Kirchmeier met with Standing Rock Sioux officials in the morning and with state officials at the governor’s office Tuesday afternoon before returning to the department headquarters to brief patrol on how and when work will continue.

“Basically, what we talked about at the meeting was how to de-escalate tensions between the pipeline workers and the protesters, and us, I guess. One option is to give them more land and more comfort, room for tents, water, a Dumpster, that kind of thing,” the sheriff said.

Ideally, there would be ample room to move the hundreds of cars, pickups and enforcement vehicles off the roadway, too, he said.

About 28 people have been arrested since last week, including tribal chairman Dave Archambault, and charged with disorderly conduct for trying to block access to the work site. The tribal members are protesting the pipeline’s crossing of the Missouri River near the reservation boundary for fear it will rupture and contaminate their water, water downstream and disrupt sacred historic sites.

The sheriff confirmed that a federal court judge — at the request of Dakota Access Pipeline — signed a restraining order against previously arrested protesters from returning to the pipeline location.

In a situation of historical irony, after the work shutdown, law enforcement pulled back from the protest site on Highway 1806 to a communication command center at Fort Lincoln State Park. The park preserves the fort from which the cavalry and Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer left to never return after a fatal battle against the Sioux. A replica of Custer’s captured flag was flying among others representing some of the 25 to 30 estimated tribes that have arrived to support Standing Rock since the protest started last week.

Another reason to pull back toward Mandan was to get into range of reliable cell phone service. Many at the protest scene believe cell towers are being purposely jammed to prevent communication, but North Dakota Highway Patrol Cap. Eric Pederson said there is no truth to the rumor.

With the growing numbers of protestors — now at least 500 to 600 — a second protest camp was established late Monday night on low land just south of the Cannonball River, and tents, buses and tipis were scattered around a central kitchen and check-in tent. An original spirit camp was set up months ago in protest.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal chairman Harold Frazier arrived with several busloads of his tribal members Tuesday afternoon and said it’s the biggest such gathering of Native tribes he can recall, with representatives from tribes coast to coast and Canada.

“Things are going well, with the construction stopped. I think it should stay stopped and let the courts settle it,” Frazier said. “I believe we will stop it.”

Frazier said he and Archambault were cooperating to ensure there is adequate food and shelter for everyone arriving to support Standing Rock.

Dakota Access did not return calls and emails seeking comment on the work stoppage.

Back at the protest site — closest to where the pipeline is being staged for boring under the Missouri River — the scene was relatively quiet and peaceful through the day.

One of the Sioux’ most holy men, Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th successive keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf pipe, led hundreds in prayer at the gated entrance to the pipeline route.

The prayers, burning sage and sounds of drumming were intended to restore a protest based on prayer and peaceful objection, amid worries that not everyone can be controlled in such a large, fast-moving situation and as arrests continued to mount. Men, women and children sang the old language and turned as one to the four corners of the universe. Cameras were forbidden during the ceremony.

Tribal member and former councilman Tim Mentz said the prayers were at the request of Archambault.

“The chairman asked to go back to prayer, to ask for peace and safety and that we can accomplish what we are here to do,” Mentz said. “It’s for one thing: the safety of everyone. We’re all praying for the same thing.”

After the prayers, the access gates were propped open and the protesters walked the construction route on private land down to the Missouri River below, a hot walk in nearly 85-degree temperatures. Many walked, some rode horses and others rode in the back of pickups, intent on making contact with the water a half-mile away.

The industry statement:

pipeline route

The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a new approximate 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline will enable domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to reach major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and environmentally responsible manner. The pipeline will also reduce the current use of rail and truck transportation to move Bakken crude oil to major U.S. markets to support domestic demand.

It will transport approximately 470,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more – which could represent approximately half of Bakken current daily crude oil production. Shippers will be able to access multiple markets, including Midwest and East Coast markets as well as the Gulf Coast via the Nederland, Texas crude oil terminal facility of Sunoco Logistics Partners.

Message forwarded from Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community

FORT YATES, ND – The following is a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, Dave Archambault II on the Tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline proposed project.

Statement from Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman

The United States via the Army Corps of Engineers is in the mist of moving ahead with an oil pipeline that officials are claiming is not potentially harmful to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. I am here to advise anyone that will listen, that the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is harmful. It will not be just harmful to my people but its intent and construction will harm the water in the Missouri River, which is one of the cleanest and safest river tributary left in the United States.

We have been told by the officials that there will be breaches in the pipe line, but they claim that the situations are generally never very bad. This is unacceptable.

Our Mother Earth is sacred. All things evolve and work together. To poison the water, is to poison the substance of life. Everything that moves must have water. How can we talk about and knowingly poison water?

I’ve been told and taught that it is our responsibility to stand for our relatives, the ones that crawl, the ones that fly, the ones that burrow, the ones that swim, the ones that flower. Relatives that cannot speak for themselves. Who will speak for them? We have to speak for those who are not here – our ancestors, for those children who are not yet born. Our ancestors left sacred sites for us. We have to speak for them. Children not yet born will not live without water. We have to speak for them.

Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this.

Our instructions say snakes are good – they serve a great purpose in the web of life. Our elders and the elders before them have given us wonderful teachings and a beautiful way to live and co-exist with all that is, however, the black poisonous snake we are being warned about does not come from the Creator. It is man-made and the creature is made of nothing but Greed. There is nothing good that has ever come from Greed. Greed is pure poison. It blinds and twists thinking. It is what my people have endured and continue to endure.

Right now the Rosebud reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation, the Pine Ridge reservation and my Standing Rock reservation represent five of the 10 poorest places or counties in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Our state of being is not our fault. We did not cause this. United States lawmakers and their policies caused this. Why?? Greed – and now again, even what little we have left is under attack.

Is it too much to respectfully and peaceably request that we not live in fear of being bitten by this creature of eminent harm? Isn’t living in fear and terror unacceptable in the United States?

The United States should use all its will and power to be a real great world leader. It should swear off oil production because we all know it is harmful to it is to our planet. The United States should use all its wisdom and technology to develop alternative sources of power. It should be a great wise leader to preserve and enhance this earth, not knowingly destroy the webs of life.

What I ask is that my fellow American citizens stand with my people to stand with us. I ask you to please call or write your Senators and Representative to stop this blindness and this greed.

And, if nothing else, please, offer a prayer for my people and all the people who are standing with us in prayer. Just offer some thoughts of protection for us. We ask that you offer a prayer for sensibility and common sense on behalf of all the two-legged that walk as this is not just a Lakota/Dakota issue, this is a human issue.

This land that is being disturbed was once ours. Our people, our Indian Nations lived and governed our peoples all over this territory. This land across the Cannonball River that is now threatened was forcibly taken from us and there was nothing that we could do about it then and now.

Nonetheless, we still believe that we are the keepers of this beautiful land. Although it was taken from us, we know, we must stand and speak on this land’s behalf. We want everyone and the federal government to respect this land and take care of it. That is why our people are standing up and standing with the land and water. We have to be here. It is instructions that the Creator has given us. We have to be here. We have to stand to protect ourselves and those cannot speak for themselves.

When the President of the United States came to Cannonball, I did not ask him for anything. I tried to let his wife, Michelle and him, see for themselves a little of our reality. They saw our people in our happiest times, singing and dancing, but they also heard the tough reality of life for so many of our youth.

I believe both were impacted but knowing what I know now, I wish I would have asked President Obama to help us in this struggle.

I will pass away someday, which is all part of the Creator’s plan, but I have a son and daughter. I have no doubt that they will give me grandchildren. What will we leave for our grandchildren? Poisoned water? The substance of Life! In my language, we describe water as the source of Life. We say Mni Wiconi!

My Tribe asks how can we live with ourselves if we don’t respect the rights and needs of our future generations?

Today I realize that everything happens for a reason. Although I didn’t ask the President for a dime, I see our people are peacefully speaking out in a good way now. This is hugely important to my Tribe and all of our Tribal Nations. This peaceful demonstration is a cry to stop the desecration of land and water.

I pray that the powers that be, hear our prayer because all this behavior we are exhibiting is a prayer on our part.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your families, your children and grandchildren.

Dave Archambault II, Chairman Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

long march