Editor's note: On Friday September 9, the federal government stepped in to halt some of the construction under way on the Dakota Access oil pipeline after U.S. District Court Judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request for an injunction to stop Energy Transfer Partners from running the pipeline under the Missouri River. The previous weekend, private security employed by Dakota Access LLC, the subsidiary overseeing the project, had brought out dogs and pepper spray against unarmed water protectors conducting a nonviolent civil action to stop the desecration of sacred burial grounds.
After the federal government's move, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren sent a letter to employees promising that the pipeline would be built and outlining the ways in which the law was on the company's side. The Yakama Nation released the following statement in response.
YAKAMA NATION RESPONDS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT BRUTALITY and ENERGY TRANSFER PARTNERS’ THREATS TO NATIVE LANDS AND LIVES
TOPPENISH, WASHINGTON—The Yakama Nation supports the Obama Administration’s “stop-work” of construction of the interstate oil pipeline known as the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) as an emergency measure to stop further destruction of Native lands, burial grounds, and sacred sites.
“But the Yakama Nation believes that the only way the United States can honor its Treaty promises to the Sioux Peoples is by stopping DAPL forever,” said Chairman JoDe Goudy. “Nor does the Yakama Nation fail to appreciate that DAPL could be moved down the Missouri River and thereby pose further threat to water, natural resources, and the approximately 17 million American citizens that benefit from an ability to appreciate clean water and untainted lands. We will not celebrate, and we will not relent, until the threat of DAPL is eliminated and ceases to exist forever. The United States is duty bound to protect the sacred. We are keenly observing just how the sacred will be protected.”
“To Kelcy Warren of Energy Transfer Partners, I say to you that your claim that Native Peoples’ deeply held understanding of the threats posed by DAPL to the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers is “unfounded,” is a mistruth—a bold-faced lie,” said Goudy. “We will continue to ensure that the truth is told, unveiling your profit margins, your subsidies, your market performance, your political contributions, your media connections, and the privilege that comes with having an individual net worth of $4.2 billion dollars.”
Yesterday Morton County police and other enforcement agencies wearing riot gear and holding automatic weaponry, arrested at gunpoint Sacred Stone Camp protectors, medics, and press in the latest civil rights atrocity to face the camp.
“To Governor Jack Dalrymple and Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, I say to you that your racial profiling and brutality of the Sioux, other Native Peoples, and independent media representatives engaged in the practice of their 1st Amendment right granted by the U.S. Constitution is disgraceful,” Goudy said.
“I have driven through your military police checkpoints. I, along with the world, have witnessed the use of deadly force against the Sacred Stone Camp protectors. Together we observe the prosecution of those who are trying to expose the truth. I resent the discrimination and injustice that you are inflicting upon Native Peoples and all who have been called to the camp to protect the sacred waters and lands.”
Since Friday, the mainstream media has done a disservice by suggesting that DAPL has been defeated. Consider these misleading headlines:
• “Dakota Access Pipeline: Work halted, tribe celebrates” (CNN)
• “Federal government moves to halt oil pipeline” (Washington Post)
• “In Victory for Protestors, Obama Administration Halts North Dakota Pipeline” (NPR)
“To the mainstream media, I say that you have done Native Peoples a disservice by representing that this fight has been won. We have won nothing, except a few more days or weeks during which sacred Sioux lands and waters might not be destroyed. And there is nothing binding that currently prevents Energy Transfer Partners from bulldozing through another large swath of Sioux sacred lands and disturbing more Sioux Ancestors while they lie in rest.”
“The actions of today surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline are being marked in time for the world and our future generations to observe. There is no question that our yet unborn will suffer the consequences of our collective missteps. I encourage all leaders, all media representatives, and all enforcement agencies to stand on the right side of history.”
A Yakama Nation delegation, including Goudy, also visited the Sacred Stone Camp at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Below, they are greeted with an honor song.