Police repression at Dakota Access protest camp

More than 140 were arrested Oct. 27 as over 300 police officers in riot gear—backed up with several armored vehicles and two helicopters—cleared the camp erected to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. North Dakota's Gov. Jack Dalrymple used emergency powers declared over the protests in August to bring in officers from neighboring states.  The 1851 Treaty Camp was set up directly in the path of the pipeline, on private land recently purchased by Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline. But the land has been declared reclaimed as tribal territory by the Standing Rock Reservation under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The Morton County sheriff’s department said protesters torched several police vehicles, and that two officers were lightly wounded. Those arrested were not allowed to post bail. The sweep brought the total number arrested in the protests since August to 411. State officials have stated that they will no longer communicate with the protesters. (Native News Online, Bold Nebraska, NYT, Forum News ServiceICTMN, Sacred Stone Camp, Oct. 28; EcoWatch, Oct. 25)

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, last month called on the United States to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, saying it poses a significant risk to the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and threatens to destroy their burial grounds and sacred sites. (OHCHR, Sept. 22)

The larger Sacred Stone Camp, on public lands near the construction site, still remains. Another, also on nearby public lands, is known as the Oceti Sakowin Camp, after the traditional name of the Lakota (Sioux) peoples.

  1. Victory for Blackfoot tribes against oil development

    Amid protests over an oil pipeline set to run near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, the US Interior Department announced it is cancelling 15 oil and gas leases in neighboring Montana, on land sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the US and Canada.

    The move will preserve a 130,000-acre wilderness known as the Badger-Two Medicine area, which is the site of the tribes' creation story and a habitat for grizzly bears, elk and other species. It adjoins the Blackfeet Nation and Glacier National Park. interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the cancellation would protect the area's "rich cultural and natural resources” from the “irreparable impacts [of] oil and gas development." (The Independent)