Standing Up for Standing Rock: Understanding Why Local Tribes Support a Fight to Stop a Pipeline in North Dakota
The tribe has been battling to stop the pipeline in court. Environmentalists and tribe members have been protesting near the construction sites. On September 3, protesters and security guards with trained dogs clashed as the pipeline construction company rolled bulldozers into sites viewed as sacred. Claims were made on one side that protesters including one child were bitten by the dogs and on the other that three security guards were injured.
The judge in the case refused to grant an injunction to stop construction. However, in an unusual step, the Obama administration requested that construction on the pipeline be halted for 20 miles east or west of the tribal area. “[T]his case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects,” wrote the Justice Department in a joint statement with the Army and the Department of the Interior. They said they will be inviting tribes “to formal, government-to-government consultations” on how the federal government could better work with them in the future.
Representatives from local tribes are in North Dakota as part of thousands of people protesting. There has been at least one other local protest. It took place in Klamath last Friday. Native Americans across the United States see Standing Rock as more than a fight to stop a pipeline. They see it as a battle for their rights in the future.
It should be noted that supporters of the DAP argue that shipping by pipeline is safer than by rails, the current alternative. They also say that shipping by pipeline would be cheaper thus reducing costs to consumers.
For a more complete explanation of the North Dakota protests go to this Vox article which we also used.