Pipeline Protest Recalls Decades of Native American Environmental Concerns
Since Labor Day weekend, Native Americans representing at least 100 tribes from the U.S. and Canada have descended on the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota to protest pipeline construction, which they fear will contaminate the sole water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Even beyond the specific question of water, the overarching concern for Indians has been what many view as an infringement on tribal sovereignty. Federally recognized tribes are sovereign nations with a government-to-government relationship with the U.S., which via treaty rights and trust responsibility acts as a guarantor against the destruction of Indian sacred sites. But the history of the federal government failing to make good on that agreement is a long one.