Thursday, September 08, 2016

Second Native Tribe Sues over Dakota Access Pipeline Permit
Up to 3,000 people are gathered at several camps at a given time to obstruct the pipeline's construction. | Photo: Facebook / @Supamanhiphop

8 September 2016

The lawsuit comes a day before a federal judge will rule on whether to halt construction.
A second tribe filed a lawsuit Thursday against "various decisions and approvals" for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was granted a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers without a proper consultation.

The Yankton Sioux Tribe, also known as the Ihanktonwan Oyate, claimed in the suit, also filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that the approval was illegal because it “foreclosed the legally-mandated consultation process before consultation even began.” The Corps also failed to seek free prior and informed consent, it argues, which is mandated because the pipeline would cross treaty-protected sacred burial and cultural sites.

The US$3.8 million pipeline, which would run from Illinois to North Dakota, has brought together hundreds of Native American tribes across the United States in solidarity with the local tribes, which have been resisting construction since April.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which first built the Sacred Stone Camp where North Dakota said Thursday it would to mobilize the National Guard, already has a suit pending against the Corps for granting the construction permit. A federal judge will rule Friday on whether construction will be stopped until a court rules on the legality of the permit.

“Relationship with the land, water, and all living things dictates how we conduct ourselves on Mother Earth,” said Faith Spotted Eagle, chair for the Ihanktonwan Treaty Steering Committee, in a press release on the Yankton Sioux lawsuit. “Those in power only have relationship with themselves and their sources of power; in this case, how much money they can make. It is a sad state of affairs but we will persevere.”

The lawsuit stresses that a consultation is not only legally required but essential “because tribes possess unique knowledge and expertise with respect to sacred and cultural sites, much of which sounds in oral history,” which is why many of the protected sites are still undocumented.

The case, then, comes from “an absolute need to protect these sites for future generations” and from a concern about the health of the water resources, which are considered “first medicine.”

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