Archaeologists and cultural professionals join petition against North Dakota pipeline
Museum directors, curators and archaeologists have joined the protest led by Native American groups against the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. More than 1,000 culture professionals signed a letter addressed to US President Obama, the department of justice and the interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers, saying: “We join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in denouncing the recent destruction of ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.”
Built by the Dallas company Energy Transfer Partners, the 1170-mile $3.7bn Dakota Access pipeline would carry oil from fields in western North Dakota to Illinois, where it could join other pipelines. The line’s intended route runs across private land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, and at one point would cross under Lake Oahe, a dammed portion of the Missouri River that is a major water source for the tribe. The Sioux say the pipeline threatens the local environment and ancient cultural sites, and that reviews of the land and the project were not properly done. Hundreds of Native American protesters have set up camp on the prairie and have been demonstrating near the building site since August. Earlier this month, the US government paused construction on the pipeline to address the tribes’ concerns.