Standing Rock Sioux members are willing to do anything to protect their land, including standing on the frontline of a weeklong protest.
According to reports, the native tribe has succeeded in pressing pause on Dakota Access Pipeline construction late Monday (Aug. 15) after youthful protestors surrounded the machinery on the site leaving Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier to halt the controversial project until a safety plan is created to minimize conflict moving forward.
“Basically, what we talked about at the meeting was how to de-escalate tensions between the pipeline workers and the protesters, and us, I guess. One option is to give them more land and more comfort, room for tents, water, a dumpster, that kind of thing,” the sheriff told the Bismarck Tribune, skimming over the root of the operation’s pushback.
The Sioux are at odds with Dakota Access Pipeline construction workers in fear that the pipeline’s proximity to the reservation boundary will contaminate their water, which subsequently poses a threat to their sacred historic sites.The protest, which has drawn approximately 600 demonstrators, has resulted in roughly 28 arrests last week. Tribal members taken into custody, including tribal chairman Dave Archambault, have reportedly been charged with disorderly conduct for blocking access to the pipeline.
Cheyenne River Sioux tribal chairman Harold Frazier said he and Archambault were cooperating to secure adequate food and shelter for the several busloads of tribal members arriving to the scene in the biggest gathering of native tribes from across the nation and Canada that he has ever seen.
“Things are going well, with the construction stopped. I think it should stay stopped and let the courts settle it,” Frazier said of the current climate of affairs. “I believe we will stop it.”