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North Dakota Access Pipeline Destroys Sioux Nation Sacred Artifacts

DAPL Destroys Sioux Nation Sacred Artifacts: Women and Children Attacked By Dogs

“MINUTE ORDER: As explained at today’s hearing, the Court ORDERS that Plaintiffs’ [30, 31] Motions for Temporary Restraining Order are GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. As agreed by Defendants, the Court ORDERS that no construction activity on the DAPL may take place between Highway 1806 and 20 miles to the east of Lake Oahe. Construction activity to the west of Highway 1806 may proceed. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 9/6/2016. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 09/06/2016)”

Judge has decided that construction on private land, the site of mass grave destruction, may proceed. This is west of highway 1806 and area of confrontation on Saturday. Property east of 1806 is Federal Land and is subject to restraining order. This leaves lots of room for discussion about consequences, if any, for destruction of sacred artifacts.

Fait accompli (a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept)

by Georgianne Nienaber

(OpEdNews.com) – Energy Transfer Inc. and invested owners of the proposed North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), have begun psychological warfare against peaceful protestors near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It will be a challenge for the persecuted to stay vigilant, stay strong and stay true to their beliefs. So far the People have remained nonviolent in the face of dog attacks on their bodies and their horses, while facing extreme psychic trauma in the form of desecration of graves and sacred sites. On Saturday “sacred places containing ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were destroyed by Energy Transfer Partners,” Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said in a press release.

The tribal Chairman also has an op-ed in the New York Times that clearly lays out the issues facing Standing Rock.

Acting with a slap in the face to the judicial process, Energy Transfer Inc., in partnership with the Enbridge Corporation and Marathon Oil, bulldozed a two mile, 150 feet wide path through land currently being contested in Federal Court. Meanwhile, ancient cairns and stone prayer rings can never be replaced.

Ask the question: How would you feel if a construction company bulldozed a family plot in a local cemetery that contained the remains of you family? What about your community church that ahas stood for a hundred years or more?

“We’re days away from getting a resolution on the legal issues, and they came in on a holiday weekend and destroyed the site,” said Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “What they have done is absolutely outrageous.”

The site at the conjunction of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers and to the west of Highway 1806 is not the only historic site at risk. Other culturally and historically significant sites will be damaged or destroyed as the DAPL crude oil pipeline snakes 1168 miles through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

Stopping A Fait Accompli

Colors Legging Army
Legging Army

Immediately recognizing the need to stop this process, on August 4, 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe along with attorneys from Earthjustice filed a motion with supporting documents for a preliminary injunction against the DAPL. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued the initial permitting for the pipeline. Federal Judge James E. Boasberg rejected the motion to ignore the injunction request and ordered a status conference on September 14, leaving room for discussion after his ruling September 9.

That fact that the corps ruled in favor of the DAPL routing to begin with is beyond puzzling, since not one, but three Federal agencies opposed it. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have all said that the USACE had not done an adequate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), mainly with regard to drinking water.

Most recently, representatives of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said the same, and that the Tribe must have a say.

There is separate discussion about the corps illegally discharging into federally protected wetlands, but the effort to stop the fait accompli of destruction of historical and sacred sites is the main issue here. One needs look no further than violations of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) by the permitting agency, the USACE. These egregious violations and the consequence came into full view this Saturday.

Reading through the 53 page initial “motion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw Nationwide Permit 12 as applied to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to withdraw verifications issued on July 25, 2016 for the Dakota Access Pipeline to discharge in federally regulated waters at 204 sites along the pipeline route,” is tedius, yet informative. Everyone connected with the protest should study it. One is struck by the testimony that destruction of ancient burial grounds and ceremonial sites constitutes “irreparable injury to the Tribe and its members.”

The regulatory process remains incomplete, numerous lawsuits have been filed against DAPL and the corps, and significant public controversy surrounds the project. Yet Energy Transfer Inc. seeks to render the legal dispute moot by finalizing construction before the Tribe can be heard. The dog attacks and bulldozing over the weekend were an attempt to force a violent confrontation, but the protestors held fast to their peaceful intent in spite of extreme psychological and physical duress.

The Standing Rock Sioux, as a successor to the Great Sioux Nation, is party to the Treaties of Fort Laramie 1851 and 1868. The 18,000 enrolled members view the water and ancestral lands as sacred entities. The tribe learned that the original configuration of the DAPL pipeline was upstream of Bismarck, but was later moved to one half mile outside of the reservation’s current and “official” boundary.

The “main camp” with the majority of the protesters is located on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s land just north of the Cannonball River. The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services says it is not on tribal property, but the original treaty line was moved in 1889, so if you support broken treaties, you could call it illegal. In this case legality is in the eye of the beholder. The bulldozers and attack dogs wrought their destruction near the borehole site, which is a main focus of the request for a preliminary injunction.