A principled decision by the US government offers Native Americans an opportunity for justice

Lucas Reynolds

❝ Shortly after federal Judge James Boasberg denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers issued a joint statement that, in effect, temporarily halts all construction bordering Lake Oahe on the Missouri.

❝ The tribe had sought an injunction to stop the routing of the Dakota Access oil pipeline underneath the Missouri River, the source of the reservation’s drinking water, on the grounds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had failed to conduct a proper environmental and cultural impact study. While acknowledging that damage had been done to an area sacred to the tribe, Boasberg said that the tribe had not made its case for an injunction…

❝ Shortly after Judge Boasberg’s decision, the three government agencies stepped in, suggesting that a change in process may be in order when it comes to how the courts and federal law view Indian land.

“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act,” the joint announcement stated. “However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain.”

❝ The agencies called for “serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.” The statement announced “formal, government-to-government consultations” this fall that would examine what the federal government can do “to ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights,” and whether new legislation was needed to meet the goal of meaningful consultation

“The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws,” the statement said. “Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time…”

❝ Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II expressed elation and gratitude.

“Our hearts are full. This an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation,” Archambault said in a statement. “Today, three federal agencies announced the significant decision to respect tribal sovereignty and stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Army Corps land…”

“Our voices have been heard,” said Archambault. “The Obama administration has asked tribes to the table to make sure that we have meaningful consultation on infrastructure projects. Native peoples have suffered generations of broken promises and today the federal government said that national reform is needed to better ensure that tribes have a voice on infrastructure projects like this pipeline…”

Please RTFA. Judge Boasberg’s decision is worth reflection. Even though I believe like too many in the American legal profession he forgets to consider the spirit of laws intended to protect people and their property at a higher priority than corporate wealth and profit.

The full statement from David Archambault 11, Standing Rock Chairman is inclusive and reflects his thanks to all across this nation who support his tribe, Native Americans, and the broader fight against rich and powerful interests.

President Obama’s decision should be recognized as an act of courage. Albeit not one taken frequently enough against the most reactionary elements in American society. I only hope it succeeds in reversing the decades of repression against those fighting for equal rights and authority in this nation – and Native American people in particular.

35 thoughts on “A principled decision by the US government offers Native Americans an opportunity for justice

  1. Bank on it says:

    “Banks Financing the Dakota Pipeline Choose to Remain Silent” http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Banks-Financing-the-Dakota-Pipeline-Choose-to-Remain-Silent-20160908-0032.html “The two companies behind the project, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, are funded by 26 and 24 banks, respectively. Six of those financial institutions—JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citibank—lent a total of US$200 billion to the pipeline, seen as a lucrative long-term investment in the emerging oil and gas industry in the U.S.”

  2. Kill the messenger says:

    “Journalist Amy Goodman Wanted in North Dakota for Covering #NoDAPL Demonstrations” http://www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=8910 “National Lawyers Guild legal observers who have been present observing recent events in the Standing Rock area, issued the following statement:
    September 10, 2016: After Amy Goodman, anchor and reporter for Democracy Now!, reported from the sacred site of the Standing Rock Sioux where Dakota Access pipeline “security forces” were caught on camera unleashing canines and mace against water protectors, including a pregnant woman and children, the State of North Dakota issued a warrant and a criminal complaint against her for criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine or both.” Copy of the arrest warrant @ http://www.unicornriot.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/GoodmanHallNDCharges.pdf

  3. Luther North says:

    “Something historic is happening right now in North Dakota. At the camp in Standing Rock, more than 4,000 indigenous people from 280 tribes have come together, bringing totem poles, handmade canoes, and other sacred objects to commemorate the occasion.
    The last time this many tribes gathered to protect their homeland and sacred sites was 140 years ago — in 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn, or Custer’s Last Stand, an armed conflict against colonialism.” http://grist.org/justice/president-obama-should-listen-to-the-indigenous-people-fighting-the-dakota-access-pipeline/

  4. Playing4Keeps says:

    “A growing rift has split the country’s biggest union federation, the AFL-CIO. Many labor activists and union members are outraged that Richard Trumka, the federation’s president, threw the AFL-CIO’s support behind the Dakota Access pipeline project earlier this month.
    The AFL-CIO’s statement backing the pipeline was announced a week after the Obama administration put construction on hold. Trumka acknowledged “places of significance to Native Americans” but argued that the more than “4,500 high-quality, family supporting jobs” attached to the pipeline trumped environmental and other considerations.” http://grist.org/business-technology/big-labor-has-an-identity-crisis-and-its-name-is-dakota-access/

  5. Ch'ąl says:

    “Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II on October 5 reiterated his commitment to keeping the Dakota Access oil pipeline away from the tribe’s drinking water after a U.S. District Court postponed ruling on a request for a permanent halt to the construction along its designated route a half mile from the reservation. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/10/05/court-postpones-decision-dapl-construction-stoppage-standing-rock-stands-strong-165997

  6. Buffalo Bob says:

    A federal court panel has lifted orders blocking construction on a portion of the embattled Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/300121-court-denies-tribes-request-to-halt-pipeline-construction
    In a two-page ruling issued Sunday night, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against construction on the project along a small stretch of land while its lawsuit over the pipeline moves forward.
    The court also lifted an administrative injunction against work on the stretch of land around North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, an order issued when the tribe appealed its case to the court last month.
    Construction on federal land near Lake Oahe remains on hold, however; the federal government has not yet granted Dakota Access’s developers the easement necessary for constriction to move forward there.
    The three-judge panel ruled Sunday that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did not meet the conditions necessary for securing an injunction against the project.

  7. Eugene says:

    Indigenous groups affected by the contamination of Chevron in Ecuador—led by Humberto Piaguaje—joined the Native Americans protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in the state of North Dakota in the U.S.
    Piaguaje, from the Siekopai nation and representative of those affected by the Chevron Corporation in the Amazon, said in an interview with teleSUR that he visited the Dakota camp to bring a message of solidarity, unity and strength. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuadors-Indigenous-Leader-Fighting-Chevron-Visits-Dakota-Camp-20161012-0024.html
    Chevron left behind billions of gallons of toxic sludge in Ecuador’s Amazon 23 years ago, impacting as many as 30,000 people in rural and Indigenous communities.
    Ecuadorean Indigenous groups’ years-long court battle to force oil giant Chevron Corp. to pay US$9.5 billion in damages for the environmental disaster known as “Amazon Chernobyl” began a new phase Monday, this time in Canada. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuadoreans-Go-to-Canada-to-Collect-Billions-from-Chevron-20160912-0017.html

  8. Wašíču says:

    Obscure disaster-relief law used to clear the Dakota Access camp. http://grist.org/briefly/an-obscure-disaster-relief-law-was-used-to-clear-the-dakota-access-camp/ “The 1996 Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) allows other states to send law enforcement and employees when a governor declares a state of emergency — or, according to its website, “whenever disaster strikes!”
    But it is also being activated to quell dissent.
    Riot-clad police arrested 141 people Thursday for what the local sheriff says is trespassing on private property near a local highway. As EcoWatch, DeSmog, and local outlets point out, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple used EMAC to bring in law enforcement from six states to clear the encampment near construction for the Dakota Access pipeline.
    The mutual aid law was also used in Baltimore in 2015 following Black Lives Matter protests mourning the death of Freddie Gray. EMAC was even used ahead of anticipated protests at the Republican National Convention, resulting in the deployment of an additional 5,500 cops from across the country to Cleveland this summer.
    EMAC director Angela Copple and her staff didn’t respond to a request to explain about why the program is being used in North Dakota.” (see links)

  9. Meanwhile says:

    Several Dakota pipeline protesters were injured Saturday after they were run over by a construction truck as the driver drove through their gathering, firing gunshots into the air near the construction site of the pipeline according to videos and photos posted online, which prompted the local police to investigate the incident Sunday. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Man-Shoots-off-Gun-Runs-over-Standing-Rock-Water-Protectors-20161113-0016.html

  10. Haugh! says:

    UN Condemns ‘Inhumane’ Abuse of Standing Rock Water Protectors http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UN-Condemns-Inhumane-Abuse-of-Standing-Rock-Water-Protectors-20161118-0003.html Kelcey Warren, who is the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the project, said he is “100 percent” confident that construction will continue. Warren was a major donor to the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump, who himself has significant investments in the project.

  11. Update says:

    Nov 20, 2016: “Police, citing ‘ongoing riot,’ use water cannons on Dakota Access protesters in freezing weather” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/21/police-citing-ongoing-riot-use-water-cannons-on-dakota-access-protesters-in-freezing-weather/ As temperatures in Cannon Ball, N.D., dropped into the 20s, police in riot gear sprayed anti-pipeline activists with a hose mounted on top of an armored vehicle and formed a line to prevent them from advancing up Highway 1806, according to the Bismarck Tribune {link}. Protesters also reported being pelted with rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades during the standoff, which lasted until late Sunday night. (includes link to video)

  12. FlashBANG! says:

    “An injured Standing Rock activist could lose an arm, but her resolve remains strong : Sophia Wilansky could undergo as many as 20 surgeries as doctors try to repair her injuries. http://grist.org/justice/an-injured-standing-rock-activist-could-lose-an-arm-but-her-resolve-remains-strong/ “The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council said it treated 300 people after the standoff, sending 26 to the hospital. A statement issued Tuesday by the council quotes Sophia’s father: “A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away.”
    The Morton County Sheriff’s Department told the Los Angeles Times that police “didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage” and suggested she might have been injured when protectors were rigging their own explosives. Activists counter that the demonstration was peaceful, and no one at the protectors’ camp has created explosives or even has the materials to do so. Wilansky’s father put the blame squarely on law enforcement. “The police did not do this by accident,” he said. “It was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her.” He said surgeons removed grenade shrapnel from her arm, which will be held for evidence.” (see video) See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stun_grenade#Lethality_of_stun_grenades and

  13. Update says:

    > “How Dakota Pipeline Protesters Are Digging in For a Harsh Winter” http://motherboard.vice.com/read/dakota-pipeline-protest-camp-prepares-for-winter
    > “A Dakota pipeline’s last stand” https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/a-dakota-pipelines-last-stand/2016/11/25/35a5dd32-b02c-11e6-be1c-8cec35b1ad25_story.html
    > “Trump’s stock in oil pipeline company raises concern” http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a6c6591086f24d45a3f0b5d48f2a8271/trumps-stock-oil-pipeline-company-raises-concern
    > “First ‘Trump deal’: Sunoco Logistics to acquire Energy Transfer Partners” http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/21/first-trump-deal-sunoco-logistics-to-acquire-energy-transfer-partners.html
    > ‘On Dec. 4, if everything goes according to plan, hundreds of veterans will muster at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline” http://taskandpurpose.com/where-evil-resides-veterans-deploy-to-standing-rock-to-engage-the-enemy-the-us-government/
    > Veterans Stand For Standing Rock has raised more than $80,000 in two days. According to organizers the increased funds will enable the group in their three-day mission, which will culminate in an attempt to break through the line of guards protecting the Dakota Access construction site. http://taskandpurpose.com/flooded-with-support-standing-rock-vets-ramp-up-operation-and-brace-for-showdown/
    > IMAGE: http://www.aljazeera.com/mritems/Images/2016/10/28/241bbae37747429f8c7363aaaf989428_8.jpg

  14. Update says:

    Six views from Standing Rock standoff : The Washington Post visited Standing Rock to record the personal accounts of people on all sides of an issue that is tearing at the American heartland. (includes videos) http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/12/02/voices-from-standing-rock/
    (BBC) “Hundreds of US military veterans have joined activists in North Dakota protesting against the installation of a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline. The activists, who are demonstrating in sub-zero temperatures, have been ordered to leave the area by Monday. It is unclear if they will obey.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38188624
    The Standing Rock Native American Reservation is a Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Native American reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States.

  15. John Parker says:

    “Can the Dakota Access Pipeline be stopped?” (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Argus Leader 2:48 p.m. EST December 4, 2016 http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2016/11/04/can-dakota-access-pipeline-stopped/93282106/ “An estimated 2,100 U.S. military veterans were bound for the frigid Northern Plains on Saturday in a mass show of support for Native Americans and their allies battling the Dakota Access oil pipeline.” (LA Times Dec 3rd) http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-dakota-access-protest-20161203-story.html

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