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Oil pipeline protest turns violent in southern North Dakota

  • TOM STROMME/THE BISMARCK TRIBUNE VIA AP

    The Seven Councils Camp has a number of tents and teepees with people living at the site walking or riding horses on the sprawling area in Morton County Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, near the Cannonball River and Missouri River. Developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline have agreed to halt construction near an American Indian reservation in southern North Dakota until a federal court hearing next week in Washington, D.C.

BISMARCK, N.D. » A protest of a four-state, $3.8 billion oil pipeline turned violent Saturday after tribal officials say construction crews destroyed American Indian burial and cultural sites on private land in southern North Dakota.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured after several hundred protesters confronted construction crews Saturday afternoon at the site just outside the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. One of the security officers was taken to a Bismarck hospital for undisclosed injuries. The two guard dogs were taken to a Bismarck veterinary clinic, Preskey said.

Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed, he said. Preskey said law enforcement authorities had no reports of protesters being injured.

There were no law enforcement personnel at the site when the incident occurred, Preskey said. The crowd disbursed when officers arrived and no one was arrested, she said.

The incident occurred within half a mile of an encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest of the oil pipeline that is slated to cross the Missouri River nearby.

The tribe is challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access pipeline, which crosses the Dakotas and Iowa to Illinois, including near the reservation in southern North Dakota. A federal judge will rule before Sept. 9 whether construction can be halted on the Dakota Access pipeline.

Energy Transfer Partners did not return phone calls and emails from The Associated Press on Saturday seeking comment.

The tribe fears it’s a project they fear will disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for thousands of tribal members on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and millions further downstream.

The protest Saturday came one day after the tribe filed court papers saying it found several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” along the path of the proposed pipeline.

Tribal preservation officer Tim Mentz said in court documents that the tribe was only recently allowed to survey private land north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Mentz said researchers found burials rock piles called cairns and other sites of historic significance to Native Americans.

Standing Rock Sioux chairman David Archambault II said in a statement that construction crews removed topsoil across an area about 150 feet wide stretching for 2 miles.

“This demolition is devastating,” Archambault said. “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.”

Preskey said the company filmed the confrontation by helicopter and turned the video over to authorities. Protesters also have posted some of the confrontation on social media.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a statement that “individuals crossed onto private property and accosted private security officers with wooden posts and flag poles.”

“Any suggestion that today’s event was a peaceful protest, is false,” his statement said.

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  • Word is that former HART CEO Dan Grabauskas is on is way to save the day.

    Just hope that the “hundreds of people [who] have gathered to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest” have not hijacked the indigenous people’s legitimate concerns for their own regressive, anti-energy, anti-jobs agenda.

  • Wonder what Allie feels about this? Will she take the same position as she does against native Hawaiians or since it is a bit closer to home, a different position? Allie, I hope you give us your take on this, being the only native American who regularly posts.

    • Allie is about as Indian as the “wooden Indians” found outside tobacco stores. She is like countless other transplants who move to Hawaii and become instant experts on all things Hawaiian.

      • You don’t know me. You are totally wrong about this issue. I support peaceful protest in North Dakota. As for the telescopes, I was vindicated when native Hawaiian scholars came forward, belatedly, to argue that the mountain was never sacred at all and that the protesters, mainly from the mainland, had it wrong. I am very pro-Hawaiian but I believe, as most Hawaiians do, that Hawaiians are just as capable of science, math, real history and reason as any other cultural group.

        • Globalists are pursuing their agenda using Hawaii as a PR pump given our difficult legal history involving land and colonialism. Interesting fact: the guy who heads up both NARF and NHLC is the same guy. NARF is associated with the UN through Keith Harper, who is pushing the globalist agenda. That’s Prez O’s guy. It’s all about scoring government contracts in the name of saving the planet while getting press to ad to their resumes. Peaceful matters not at all – none of it really matters. It is all nothing more than generating press. Making the news is the most popular form of “protest” – it has spread like a contagious disease. The mass media is far more important that actual reality. So much so that the media mavens themselves will go to any lengths to suppress any “news” that they themselves did not generate. It’s a form of global madness passing itself off as globalism in service to saving the planet.

        • Sounds like the protest at Standing Rock Sioux reservation turned a bit violent. Paper really doesn’t give all that much information but do you know anything about this? Any friends there?

          As for Mauna Kea, I believe it is sacred as it is a home to Madam Pele who helps protect Hawaii from hurricanes. Ever tried removing rocks from Hawaii? Not so easy for many. 🙂

      • I believe Allie is a mixture of Native American and white? Also I don’t believe she has moved to Hawaii. She is just here pursuing a higher education and will probably move back to the mainland when she is done. But I suppose she could stay. If so, I am sure she would make an excellent contribution to Hawaii. Who knows she might even run for office some day.

        • Mandan and white. Several from here have met me and were very nice to me in person. Yes, I now teach having graduated. I am very pro-Hawaiian. Yes, I do have a friend in the tribal world responsible for the protest. I think all of it will be settled in court. The violence was caused by those wishing a confrontation to call attention to the issue.
          No, the mountain is not sacred. God is sacred as thousands of Hawaiian Christians here will tell you. As will scholars from the Hawaiian community like Peter Apo.

        • Did you know Mandan chief Ray Micanock (sorry for spelling)? I made his aquaintance in my youth, and never forgot him.

  • So how did the current path of the pipeline get approved ? This article doesn’t give any specifics about how the right of way was obtained in the first place. One would think this would have been hashed out long before any dirt was moved ..

  • It sounds, according to AP’s laxness in discerning facts, similar to our own TMT situation but when taking a look past the superficial similarities it is not the same. For one thing the TMT protesters are Hawaiian Nation affiliates, not native Hawaiian tribal officials trying to protect reserved land and nearby historical sites. In our case, the “Nation” is colonial era, not tribal era. It makes a difference. The Standing Rock reservation is tribal not colonial and certainly not royalist in nature. The Doctrine of Discovery actually favors our non native Hawaiian faction, wherein it is represented by the state as the OHA, over the tribal situation in Hawaii. 1778 vs 1893 all over again. Come on AP, you can do better, if you want to.

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