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"We need sincere action in order to stop this pipeline," said Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

(Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

Another Tear Gas Standoff With Police as Water Protectors Defend Sacred Land

Latest incident comes as reporting shows pipeline company failed to immediately inform state regulators it found artifacts during construction

Andrea Germanos

Water protectors near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation continued to face violence and intimidation on Sunday, with police again firing tear gars as they attempted to defend their sacred ground.

According to reporting by Unicorn Riot, the Dakota Access Pipeline foes "crossed the Cantapeta Creek (an offshoot of the Cannonball river) to set up camp on the land formation now referred to as 'Turtle Island.'" Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Standing Rock Sioux lay claim to that land.

Video documentation by Unicorn Riot and photos on Twitter by those on the scene show a row of police on top the hill above where the water protectors had cross onto the island. The video footage shows tear gas landing near the protesters.

Some of the pipeline opponents swam across the creek while others used small boats.

#NoDAPL Water Protectors Tear Gassed by Police During Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site from Unicorn Riot on Vimeo.

An image captured by film director and environmental activist Josh Fox shows one protester holding up a mirror to reflect back the brutality of the police tactics.

The creek is the same site where just days earlier another violent standoff took place between police and water protectors. One journalist was shot by police with a rubber bullet during that incident while she was conducting an interview.

The latest militarized police response to the protesters comes as North Dakota regulators are set to file a complaint against pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners "for failing to disclose the discovery of Native American artifacts in the path of construction," the Guardian reported Saturday. The reporting continued:

The allegations mark the state’s first formal action against the corporation and add fuel to the claims of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has long argued that the $3.7bn pipeline threatens sacred lands and indigenous cultural heritage.

Julie Fedorchak, chair of the North Dakota public service commission, told the Guardian that on 17 October, pipeline officials found a group of stone cairns –symbolic rock piles that sometimes mark burial grounds – on a site where construction was planned.

The firm, however, failed to notify the commission, in violation of its permit, and only disclosed the findings 10 days later when government workers inquired about it, she said.

The standoff also comes a day after Steve Horn reported that

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed to DeSmog that Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of the proposed Dakota Access pipeline, has ignored the Obama administration's September 9 request to voluntarily halt construction in a disputed area, 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.

Further, as Common Dreams reported last week,

An independent pipeline expert [commission by the Standing Rock Sioux] has concluded that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' environmental assessment (EA) of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is insufficient and fails to account for the impact on tribal members, prompting the Standing Rock Sioux to demand that the federal agency "revisit" its approval of the controversial project.

With the feeling by some that now "time is running out," native leaders are calling for a thousands-strong mobilization on Nov. 15 to take place at Army Corps of Engineers offices across the country.

"This is a call for all of our relatives who've been wanting to support," said Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network in a media statement. "Whether you've come to the camp, whether you haven't come to the camp. If you live near an Army Corps of Engineers office, we're asking you to step up to mobilize. We're asking you to come out in numbers and not only let the Army Corps of Engineers hear your voices, but let the Obama Administration hear your voice."

"We need sincere action in order to stop this pipeline," he continued.


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