Oil Pipeline Protests in North Dakota Draw Native Americans, Celebrities

By Thomson, Jason | The Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Oil Pipeline Protests in North Dakota Draw Native Americans, Celebrities


Thomson, Jason, The Christian Science Monitor


Oil pipelines are no strangers to controversy, often courting a wide range of opposing opinions: Witness the years of debate that plagued the Keystone XL project between the United States and Canada, eventually blocked by US President Obama in November 2015.

The latest project to attract the ire of protesters, a 1,100- mile pipeline already under construction, is set to pass through four US states - Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Its aim is to transport Bakken shale from North Dakota directly to US Gulf Coast refineries, the first pipeline to do so.

The core group of opposition is the native American Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which says the pipeline could disturb sacred sites, as well as contaminate water for millions of people. They have been joined by activists from dozens of different tribes, and the protest, which began in April, now boasts upward of 1,000 indigenous participants.

"The things that have happened to tribal nations across this nation have been unjust and unfair, and this has come to a point where we can no longer pay the costs for this nation's well-being," Dave Archambault, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told Democracy Now last week. "All too often we share similar concerns, similar wrongdoings to us, so we are uniting, and we're standing up, and we're saying, 'No more.' "

The protests have temporarily shut down construction, and about 30 people have been arrested in recent weeks. The group behind the pipeline, Dakota Access, filed a restraining order against Mr. …

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