Dozens of water protectors shut down construction at several Dakota Access construction sites two days in a row as oral arguments for a preliminary injunction appeal to halt construction were heard by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
North Dakota continues to escalate repression of the people protecting sacred sites and waters from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Today, two more felony charges were sought for water protectors, including Dale "Happi" American Horse, the first person to lock to lock his body to active Dakota Access Pipeline construction equipment.
Today, Sacred Stone Camp founder Ladonna Bravebull Allard addressed the UN on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to request assistance in the struggle to protect Indigenous water and sacred sites from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Ladonna Bravebull Allard:
Greetings distinguished representatives,
I greet you with a good heart today. I am Ta Maka Waste Win, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe I am speaking regarding the participation of the over 300 million Indigenous Peoples of Unci Maka Mother Earth. Within the United Nations system, we the Indigenous peoples request that our participation be granted at the highest possible level and that our representatives be legitimate and elected by Indigenous Nations and organizations in each region. This will secure that our participation and contributions on issues that affect us are addressed in a legitimate manner. Lack of this legitimate representation and contributions on issues that affect us are resulting in violations of our equal and inalienable rights as members of the human family. As such is the current and urgent situation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, my home, where the Dakota Access Pipeline has blatantly violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO 169, the Laramie Treaty of 1868, unresolved Ihunktonwana Land Claim Docket 74A and most importantly our Mother Earth.
The organization hereby invokes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO 169 to be enforced and brought to life to put an immediate stop to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We request that an observer and media team be sent immediately and permanently to Standing Rock until this issue is resolved to protect the water. This situation with Dakota Access has been going on for 6 months now. It has endured Spring, Summer, Fall and heads into Winter as we protect and defend our right to water. We demand immediate assistance and protection for our Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota sisters and brothers. Today we are here to formally denounce terrorism from transnationals agaisnt Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth, as such is our situation in Standing Rock and also the urgent situation of our Indigenous sisters and brothers in the Amazon and many other parts of the world.
The organization remains committed to solving the challenges faced by our generation which is to protect life and clean water for the future generations and so that all that exists can continue to exist. The Indigenous Traditional Knowledge is the only path remaining to heal the unsustainable pattern of production and consumption that is destroying our lives and the world around us. Agenda 2030, without our legitimate representatives and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples Traditional Knowledge will fail. Our knowledge can help heal Mother Earth. Without it, great and irreparable damage will lead us to destruction. We must unite to protect the Water and our Mother Earth. We, the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.
Today, 3 more individuals locked themselves to equipment at an active construction site just west of Bismarck. This followed the actions from yesterday morning, when 2 water protectors locked themselves to heavy equipment to stop work at two active pipeline construction sites northwest of Mandan. One worker pepper sprayed one of the water protectors before leaving the scene. Law enforcement responded in full riot gear with semi-automatic weapons and arrested 22 people, all unarmed, including medics, journalists, and legal observers. One of the individuals was locked onto the machine for nearly 7 hours.
Yesterday, the first 15 arrestees from the resistance camps near the Standing Rock Reservation attended arraignment hearings in Bismarck, ND. All were charged in early August in some of the region’s first demonstrations to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. All pled not guilty and pre-trial conference dates were set for December.
The Morton County Jail informed the Camp’s legal team that the ND States Attorney, Al Koppy, had ordered that only a North Dakota licensed attorney could visit the jailed water protectors, which is a violation of their constitutional right to counsel of their choosing for initial consultation. Fifteen individuals were eventually released on bond in the evening, and a bond hearing is scheduled for the other 7 at 1 p.m. today, September 14th, at Morton County Court House in Mandan, ND.
The joint statement from three federal agencies last week extended the emergency temporary restraining order that prevents construction at the river crossing itself, until this Friday September 16th. It also asked Dakota Access, LLC to voluntarily stop construction on the area 20 miles east and 20 miles west of Lake Oahe.
LaDonna Allard, Section 106 Historic Preservation Officer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, says, “We are told it is our right to stand up if there is injustice in America but when we do we are attacked as North Dakota spend its dollars to protect an oil company rather than protecting the people from destruction of their lands and water. Where is the justice?”
“This was an absurd and overzealous usage of force by North Dakota law enforcement,” said Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Such blatant disregard for the safety and legal rights of unarmed water protectors should not and will not go unnoticed. And yet, this inappropriate behavior by police will not deter our peaceful struggle to stop this pipeline.”
Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, speaking from a rally in D.C. of over 3,000 people including Bernie Sanders said “According to Dakota Access, they can treat us as less than human beings - they can sic dogs and use mace on Native American women and children trying to protect our sacred sites. But the world is watching.” Jasilyn Charger of the Oceti Sakowin Youth Runners also addressed the crowd saying “Right now, there are almost five thousand people in Standing Rock- and growing by the day- all willing to lay down their lives to protect our water.”
“These non-violent direct actions are part of a long-term commitment to prevent the contested Dakota Access Pipeline from entering into the ground, which water protectors (both indigenous and non-native allies) see as a raping of Mother Earth, ” said a statement released on behalf of the Red Warrior Camp.