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In addition to protests near the path of the pipeline, demonstrations took place this week in North Dakota's capital of Bismarck. (Photo: @RisingTideNA/Twitter)

Dakota Pipeline Construction Halted Amid Ongoing 'Defiance of Black Snake'

Hillary Clinton called to 'take a stand against this ominous pipeline as well as the brazen violation of our treaty rights'

Deirdre Fulton

Construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has been temporarily halted as protests against the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile project continued this week at the North Dakota state capitol building as well as at a "spirit camp" at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers.

According to the Associated Press, pipeline developers on Thursday agreed to pause construction until a federal court hearing next week in Washington, D.C.—but a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners vowed the work would still be completed by the end of the year. 

Meanwhile, Indigenous and environmental activists continue to gather in opposition to the pipeline, with between 1500 and 2000 people currently engaged in active resistance. 

"What happens to the Missouri River happens to all of us, all human beings," said actress Shailene Woodley at the Thursday night protest in the capital of Bismarck. "Water is not limited to Indigenous people, water is limited to everyone. Indigenous people right now are the only ones protecting it."

And in Minneapolis on Friday, Indigenous community members and council member Alondra Cano presented a resolution calling on the city to support native resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the state chapter of climate group 350.org, "The resolution was referred to the Intergovernmental Relations Committee where we will have the opportunity to further educate council members on the issue before it is brought back to the full council and passed."

"It will be a powerful statement," said 350 Minneapolis on Facebook, "for a city as large and influential as Minneapolis (the birthplace of the American Indian Movement), to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe."

Furthermore, even as anti-pipeline protesters continue to amass support from high-profile figures ranging from rapper and producer Pharrell Williams to Bernie Sanders' wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, Hillary Clinton faces calls to step up her opposition to the project.

"Earlier this year, Clinton stumped in Indian country, vying for votes," wrote journalist and Oglala Lakota citizen Simon Moya-Smith at CNN on Friday. "But if she truly supports Native American sovereignty, and if she is sincere about honoring the treaties and protecting sacred sites, then she will take a stand against this ominous pipeline as well as the brazen violation of our treaty rights."

He wrote:

If candidate Clinton does nothing to address this issue yet continues into November promising Native Americans that she is our champion, then her words will be nothing but false promises—just more bombast, more white lies to Indians.

But if she voices her opposition to the pipeline, if she proves to us that she is a woman of her word, then that would send a message that while Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks, she acts.

First, though, she has to act. You're up, Mrs. Clinton.

"We are not protesters. We are protectors," wrote Iyuskin American Horse, a Sicangu/Oglala Lakota who has been fighting alongside the Standing Rock Sioux tribe since the spring. "We are peacefully defending our land and our ways of life. We are standing together in prayer, and fighting for what is right. We are making history here. We invite you to stand with us in defiance of the black snake."

Additional demonstrations are planned for the weekend. Follow the resistance under the hashtags #RezpectOurWater, #NoDAPL, and #DakotaAccessPipeline:


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