The Standing Rock Sioux Nation fights for Sacred Lands

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Last week over 2,500 courageous members and supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation gathered at the Camp of the Sacred Stones in Fort Yates, North Dakota to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Despite.

The pipeline will cross through 50 counties in four states and travel beneath the Missouri River, just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The Missouri River is the primary drinking, fishing, and irrigation source for the 8,500 inhabitants of the reservation.

In July a dozen member of the tribe marched 2,000 miles from Cannon Ball, North Dakota to Washington, D.C to deliver a petition with over 150,000 signatures to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers calling to end the construction.

Dakota access pipeline route

Dakota Access PIpeline route would span 1,172 miles and cross through 50 counties and four states, carrying half a million barrels of oil.

Despite the ongoing opposition of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the warning that an imminent toxic spill will result in a major public health crisis, the project was approved in July.

Fortunately, construction has been temporarily halted thanks to the resilience of the protesters last week. Despite the US government placing a restraining order on protesters on August 16th ordering them not to interfere with the company, Energy Transfer Partners’ right to construct the Pipeline, they have remained consistent and peaceful since April.

Attorney Jan Hasselman from the organization, Earth Justice filed a lawsuit against the U.S Army Corps of Engineers stating that the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

Young protestors at Camp of Sacred Stones

Young protestors at Camp of Sacred Stones

On Saturday August 20th, the tribe filed an appeal with the United Nations in an effort to save their land. The pipeline violates principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples such as:

The “right to health, right to water and subsistence.

Threats against sacred sites including burial grounds.

Treaty Rights, cultural and ceremonial practices.

Free prior and informed consent.

Traditional lands and resources including water.

Productive capacity of the environment.

Self-determination.

Ultimately, the construction has been described as a direct violation of the right to water. The hearing will take place on Wednesday and all construction has been paused until then.

Tribe members in Washington, D.C

Tribe members in Washington, D.C

In Iowa, several farmers have filed similar lawsuits and are in the process of organizing protests. Despite the fact that this struggle to protect the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, and all the communities that will be impacted by the pipeline has been largely ignored by mainstream media, this fight inspires guardians of nature around the world to never stop protecting sacred lands and our Mother Earth.