Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier in Washington after White House Tribal Nations Conference. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Published October 25, 2016
LOS ANGELES – The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Harold Frazier met with President Obama at a round table event held in Los Angeles today at a private home in Beverly Hills.
Due to the magnitude of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Chairman Frazier addressed the need for a full Environmental Impact Statement instead of a less stringent Environmental Assessment prior to permits being granted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also asked the president not to approve any easement to dig under the Missouri River.
During the meeting, President Obama said that the issue was under consideration by the administration to ensure that all laws are properly followed and the United States is committed to the ongoing consultation process with Tribes about the impacts of federal infrastructure projects.
Chairman Frazier and President Obama also discussed potential civil rights violations against peaceful water protectors. President Obama assured the Chairman that there are currently federal monitors in North Dakota acting as observers in order to ensure that water protectors’ rights are not violated. The Chairman is encouraged to know that federal monitors are there to ensure the actions of the police are lawful.
Chairman Frazier expressed his enormous gratitude for the opportunity to speak directly with the president. “ I am grateful to the president for taking the time to listen to our concerns on these vital issues and am sure that President Obama will follow through on his assurances that every angle of this issue will be examined thoroughly and respectfully with regards to the Lakota people,” he said. “I have confidence that President Obama will continue his legacy of being a champion for Indian people and hear us in our request that he require an environmental impact statement about effects of the pipeline before granting any easement to dig under the Missouri River.”
The meeting today comes in advance of the end of the Tribal consultation period on Nov. 17th at which time it is the tribe’s expectation that the United States will issue a new guideline for tribal consultation that reflect the United States’ treaty-based fiduciary responsibility to protect tribes’ lands, waters, and sacred sites from harm. The chairman expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe that the president understands that while this is an important Indian issue, it is an even more important environmental and human issue; one that will affect millions of Americans.