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Chilliwack chapter in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Photo by Kai Oshea

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter participated in a local solidarity rally yesterday in support of the mobilization at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Presently, there are about 3,000 land defenders gathered on the territory of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota blocking the construction of the pipeline. That pipeline could carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It would also cross 200 waterways, including under the Missouri River, upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation (which draws its drinking water from that river). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of the pipeline on July 25, construction began on August 10, and the water protection protests began on August 15.

This weekend, land defenders seeking to protect sacred sites were attacked by security officers and their guard dogs. At least six people were bitten by the dogs, while about 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II says, “On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts. They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. …They wanted to destroy the proof and evidence; the company knew those sites were there. They don’t normally work on Saturday and Sunday; we know because we’ve been watching them. They desecrated all the land where the landowner gave us permission to look.”

Archambault adds, “This demolition is devastating. 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.” Indian Country Today notes, “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe [have now] also filed an emergency motion Sunday for a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of the Tribe’s sacred sites by Dakota Access Pipeline.” Archambault says, “The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”

In addition, the Standing Rock Sioux have a legal challenge underway in the U.S. District Court that asserts that they were not properly consulted about the pipeline and that it violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. It is hoped that a federal court judge will order an injunction against the construction of the pipeline this Friday (September 9).

Jan Hasselman, the lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux, notes, “Destroying the Tribe’s sacred places over a holiday weekend, while the judge is considering whether to block the pipeline, shows a flagrant disregard for the legal process. The Tribe has been seeking to vindicate its rights peacefully through the courts. But Dakota Access Pipeline used evidence submitted to the Court as their road map for what to bulldoze. That’s just wrong.”

The pipeline is being built by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (which owns a US$1.5 billion share in the pipeline). They have vowed that the construction of the 1,700-kilometre long pipeline will be completed by the end of this year.

#RezpectOurWater #NoDAPL #DakotaAccessPipeline