[su_heading size=”40″ align=”left”]Defending the homeland[/su_heading]

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In the continued fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL), thousands have joined the Red Warrior and Sacred Stone camps in North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and members of more than 100 tribes from across the United States and Canada have held a steady resistance against the pipeline’s construction for months.

DAPL—a project by the Dakota Access LLC, itself a part of the Energy Transfer Partners—is a $3.8 billion, 1,100-mile pipeline that when finished would carry “fracked” oil from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. (“Fracking,” short for hydraulic fracturing, is an environmentally destructive technique for drilling that involves injecting high-pressurized fluid into the earth to fracture rock and allow oil or gas to flow into wells.) DAPL is to be built across Lakota Treaty Territory at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where it would be laid underneath the Missouri River—the longest river on the continent.

To ward off the growing protest, during the Labor Day weekend, Dakota Access sent private security forces, equipped with trucks, dogs and mace, to the construction site.

According to first person eyewitness accounts, on Sept. 3, as DAPL crews began to bulldoze the land (an area with great ceremonial significance) in preparation for laying more of the oil pipeline, hundreds of marchers rallied in unison against DAPL.

Demonstrators, who at first were blocked off from the actual construction site by a wire fence, flooded into the construction zone in an attempt to stop the bulldozers. Dozens of the marchers were pepper-sprayed and six were even attacked by dogs held by private security forces.

“I got maced twice and bit by a dog. I was on the front line,” a young full-blood Oglala Sioux marcher from the Pine Ridge Reservation told Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman. When asked why he was there, the young man answered, “Water is life. Without water we all wouldn’t be here.”

Another marcher, wearing a Vietnam Veterans bandana, said, “We are caretakers of the earth. We win every day when we stand in unity.”

There were no verbal warnings prior to the pepper spraying and dog attacks according to eyewitnesses.

The protesters pushed on, despite the attacks, until construction on the site was shut down for the day—but not before Energy Transfer Partners did some damage.

Construction crews destroyed sacred places with ancient burial sites and cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe at the area where the Cannonball and Missouri rivers join, according to Tribal Chairman David Archambault II.

“This demolition is devastating,” Archambault told Indian Country Today. “These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”

According to Dallas Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who spoke via a conference call with members of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and Center for Justice and Accountability, the Sioux tribe has filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for failing to consult with tribes, even though it crosses six miles north of a source for drinking water.

“The oil company is breaking up the pipeline into smaller pieces so that they don’t need to get [a] full environmental impact statement on [the] full length. They have only gotten environmental impact statements on some of the smaller piece-projects,” said Goldtooth.

Tribes have demanded an impact statement on the full 1,200-mile length of the river.

On Sept. 6 U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a ruling that temporarily halts  construction on portions of the pipeline between State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, according to Indian Country Today Media Network.  However, Boasberg denied a temporary restraining order on construction west of Highway 1806, lands that have already been marred by bulldozers.

“We are disappointed that the U.S. District Court’s decision does not prevent Dakota Access Pipeline from destroying our sacred sites as we await a ruling on our original motion to stop construction of the pipeline,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II. “Today’s denial of a temporary restraining order against Dakota Access Pipeline west of Lake Oahe puts my people’s sacred places at further risk of ruin and desecration.”

A final decision on the pending lawsuit seeking to deny DAPL its permits and thus end construction is expected Friday, Sept. 9.

According to Nodaplsolidarity.org and a Form 8-K report by Energy Transfer Partners, the companies building DAPL secured a $2.5 billion loan from a collection of banks. But the pipeline companies can only access $1.1 billion of this loan until certain progress is made on the pipeline project. The banks funding the DAPL are Citigroup Global Markets Inc., The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, and TD Securities LLC.

The contractor actually building the pipeline is Michels Corporation, an international company that has worked on several other controversial projects including the southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Camp of the Sacred Stones and Red Warrior Camp are calling on allies across the world to take action against the companies and the financial institutions working to build the pipeline. More information on these targets is available at Actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/nodapl-solidarity-week-of-action.

There are a lot of details about the DAPL and things are happening quickly. For the latest information there are several places you can go to:

• Nodaplsolidarity.org

• sacredstonecamp.org

• Sacred Stone Camp’s Facebook page

• Red Warrior Camp’s Facebook page.

A protest and press conference is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 at the San Francisco offices of the Army Corp of Engineers at 1455 Market Street at 10 a.m.

[su_box title=”Lakota Harden posted 10 ways you can help the Standing Rock Sioux fight the Dakota Access Pipeline:”]

1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. You can leave a message stating your thoughts about this.

2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL: petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-construction-dakota-access-pipeline-which-endangers-water-supply-native-american-reservations

3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at standingrock.org/news/standing-rock-sioux-tribe–dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/

4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: Sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/

5. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

6. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: Fundrazr.com/d19fAf

7. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Gofundme account: Gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp

8. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903

9. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline such as this Act.credoaction.com/sign/NoDAPL

10. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:

Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com

Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com

Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytra [/su_box]