The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, August 21, 2016
The Dakota Access pipeline opposition escalated to epic proportions and dominated the headlines in Indian country this past week, while election issues and some legal action on the Gold King Mine spill also made waves.
NO ACCESS: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stood its ground against the Dakota Access oil pipeline across its Treaty lands, and droves of people arrived to support them. They were there to protect the water—the $3.8 billion, 1,178-mile-long pipeline would cross under the Missouri River as well as traverse about 200 water crossings in total—and, led by members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Hunkpapa Oyate), they blocked an access point for construction attempting to conduct preliminary field survey work. They also succeeded in getting the work halted near the reservation until the parties appear in court on August 24, but not before the arrest of a few dozen people, including Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II. No sooner had Archambault been released than he was slapped with a lawsuit by Dakota Access LLC for his role in obstructing construction. Archambault called for peace and nonviolence, and asked that President Barack Obama step in, a day after a federal district court in North Dakota granted a temporary restraining order against those it deemed were interfering with the work. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the International Indian Treaty Council also appealed to United Nations human rights experts to intervene.