Native Americans Protest Construction of N.D. Pipeline on Ancestral Land

Church & State, November 2016 | Go to article overview

Native Americans Protest Construction of N.D. Pipeline on Ancestral Land


Native Americans who oppose the construction of a pipeline in North Dakota are protesting, arguing that land they consider sacred would be harmed in the process.

Protests started in northwestern North Dakota near lands owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. They have since spread to several other states and Washington, D.C.

In early September, the protest in North Dakota briefly turned violent. Tribal officials said construction workers destroyed Indian burial sites on private land, leading protesters to confront security guards at the pipeline site. Four security guards were injured, and tribal officials say a number of protesters were hit with pepper spray.

David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Tribe, criticized the construction in a statement.

"This demolition is devastating," Archambault said. "These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground."

The protests are designed to raise awareness about a proposed 1,100-mile oil pipeline project that would carry crude oil from the Bakken Shale, an oil formation in North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. The $3.7 billion project would run in part through federally owned land that is close to the reservation. …

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