Last week, a few dozen Native Americans showed up to protest the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline that would cross right through their sacred land. As word spread, however, the few dozen turned into more than 2,500 native Americans. Because of the large turnout, a brief victory ensued for the people after the developers of the four-state oil pipeline agreed to halt construction until after a federal hearing in the coming week.
In spite of both the company building the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, and the federal government applying pressure, the Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have remained resilient.
On Tuesday, the government placed a restraining order on the protesters prohibiting them “from interfering with its (Energy Transfer Partners’) right to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline (the “Pipeline”) in accordance with all local, state, and federal approvals it has obtained.”
However, the protestors remained steadfast — and peaceful.
“As we have said from the beginning, demonstrations regarding the Dakota Access pipeline must be peaceful,” Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II said in a statement to reporters on August 17. “There is no place for threats, violence or criminal activity. That is simply not our way. So, the Tribe will do all it can to see that participants comply with the law and maintain the peace. That was our position before the injunction, and that is our position now.”
“The pipeline presents a threat to our lands, our sacred sites and our waters, and the people who will be affected must be heard,” Archambault told reporters. “Peaceful demonstration can be very powerful and effective. But the power of peaceful demonstration is only diminished by those who would turn to violence or illegality. We cannot let that happen. The Tribe is committed to doing all it can to make sure that the demonstrations are conducted in the right way.”
In spite of the threat to the sacred land and the unscrupulous action of the state in taking that land on behalf of big oil, government officials maintain their justification.
“Dakota Access has obtained the necessary easements and rights of way to construct the Pipeline in North Dakota and the necessary federal, state, and local permits for the Oahe Crossing,” the court said. “In accordance with the permits and approvals obtained for the Pipeline project, Dakota Access has commenced construction activities in North Dakota.”
On Saturday, the group appealed to the United Nations in a last stitch effort to prevent their land from being taken from them and given to Energy Transfer Partners.
“We specifically request that the United States Government impose an immediate moratorium on all pipeline construction until the Treaty Rights and Human Rights of the Standing Rock Tribe can be ensured and their free, prior and informed consent is obtained,” Chairman Archambault and the Treaty Council said in their appeal to top U.N. human rights officials.
According to Indian Country Today,
As a matter of extreme urgency, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Treaty Council jointly submitted an urgent action communication to four U.N. human rights Special Rapporteurs citing “ongoing threats and violations to the human rights of the Tribe, its members and its future generations.” The tribe’s water supply is threatened by construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which was permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late July, despite the objections of three federal agencies including the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.