Standing Rock Sioux Indian Burial Grounds

The Site:

Standing Rock Sioux Indian Burial Grounds, Stone Prayer Rings and Ancient Cairns

The Location:

North Dakota, U.S.A.

The Threat:

The 1,200 mile long Dakota Access Oil Pipeline traverses part of Standing Rock Sioux tribal lands located in North Dakota. Lawyers for the Standing Rock Sioux filed a request to stop the project, when it became apparent that the pipeline would destroy a recently identified burial ground, along with stone prayer rings and ancient rock cairns. In addition, the pipeline travels beneath the Missouri River, a primary source of drinking water for the tribe and other people downstream. Any leak in the pipeline would contaminate the drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux.Banner reads: Defend the Sacred - picture of a protest against the pipeline

Background:

See the Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Story: Did the Dakota Access Pipeline Company Deliberately Destroy Sacred Sioux Burial Sites?

A large camp was established on the pipeline site, the Oceti Sakowin Camp. It was a historic gathering of tribes and allies who were expressing solidarity in stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline, Calling themselves, The Water Protectors’. The Oceti Sakowin Camp will be a place for future indigenous meetings.

To learn how the encampment began, read the New York Times Magazine article about the young people who first camped out at the site: “The Youth Group that Launched a Movement at Standing Rock.”

Also, read this article from the New Yorker, “Holy Rage: Lessons from Standing Rock,” by the American novelist, Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountin Band of Chippewa Indians. Ms. Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Who Considers the Site Sacred?

Standing Rock Sioux and other Sioux Tribes including other Indians throughout the U.S.

The Site’s Status:

The Standing Rock Sioux have sued the Army Corps of Engineers saying they violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA). NHPA requires the agency to consider the cultural significance of federally permitted sites and NEPA to consider the possible consequences associated with waterways – putting a pipeline under the Missouri River. The litigation is ongoing and a court has rejected arguments that the construction be halted while the case is in litigation.

Oil started flowing through the pipeline in the spring of 2017.