Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II answers questions outside of court on Wednesday. Native News Online photo by Randall Slikkers
Published October 6, 2016
WASHINGTON — With thousands of American Indians and supporters living in an encampment near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II was in an U.S. Court of Appeals courtroom in Washington, D.C. to fight to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.
Inside the courtroom both sides faced tough questions about the whether or not the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed its due diligence to conduct proper tribal consultation. As in the lower court, the Corps argued it had done its work. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe maintains it position the Corps did not have a meaningful consultation.
The Court of Appeals has already halted construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline for 20 miles on either side of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe while the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe appeals a district court decision rendered September 9, 2016 that allowed the construction to continue.
After the hearing, Chairman Archambault and Earth Justice Attorney Jan Hassleman answered reporters’ questions outside the court.
On Wednesday afternoon, Chairman Archambault released the following statement:
Archambault: “Millions … stand with Standing Rock.”
Millions of people across the country and world, more than 300 federally-recognized tribes, members of Congress and dozens of city governments across the country stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We stand together in peaceful prayer and solidarity because this pipeline threatens the lives of the more than 17 million people who rely on the Missouri River for their water. This pipeline has already destroyed the burial places of our Lakota and Dakota ancestors. If construction continues, our people stand to lose even more of our sacred places and cultural objects.
The Obama administration and all federal agencies have a trust responsibility to uphold the treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without consulting with our tribe. The approval of this pipeline by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a violation of our treaty rights and we will not stop fighting until our lands, people, water and sacred places are permanently protected.
There was no announcement as to when the U.S. Court of Appeals will rule on the lawsuit.
Randall Slikkers contributed to this article from Washington, D.C.