On Friday, leaders from the Oglala Sioux tribe held a special session with the Army Corps of Engineers around the continued operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), as part of the U.S. government’s continued requirement to consult with tribal governments for projects occurring on tribal land.
The hearing took place soon after tribal government officials sent a letter informing the Army Corps of Engineers that they will no longer participate in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for Dakota Access Pipeline. The letter stated that the process has been flawed, rushed, and consistently left tribal leaders out of decision making.
To see a full recording of the hearing, click here. Nick Tilsen begins speaking at 51 minutes.
“On Friday, the Oglala were unified in confronting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in violations of our human rights and treaty rights, as it relates to the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Nick Tilsen, enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux tribe and president and CEO of NDN Collective. “The pipeline is operating illegally without a permit through Oceti Sakowin Territory. Every single leader was loud and clear in their testimony, saying: shut the pipeline down, you don’t have permission to cross through our sovereign land. The Army Corps has consistently violated federal law every step of the way. The U.S. government has completely abandoned its trust responsibility to the tribes, and allowed the fossil fuel industry to build and operate Dakota Access Pipeline without the free prior and informed consent of Oceti Sakowin leadership.”
“The Oglala Sioux Tribe welcomed the Army Corps to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Friday to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we recognize that many more discussions are needed to ensure our positions are heard and understood,” said Kevin Killer, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “Further, we need the other relevant departments of the federal government to get involved in this urgent matter. For this reason, our tribe is calling for a joint government-to-government consultation with not only the Corps, but the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and federal offices that have a role in protecting the environment and ensuring the United States’ treaty obligations and trust responsibilities are carried out appropriately. Allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue to operate in this scenario makes the tribe’s victory in court ring hollow, and tells the world that the United States’ laws mean nothing. Dakota Access continues to reap profits while putting our precious water and other other resources at risk. That is a wrong that must be made right.”
About NDN Collective
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.