Contrary to false statements abounding on social media, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asserted their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline that was slated to run through unceded Sioux land more than two years ago. In 2014, the tribal council and Energy Transfer Company, which is building the Dakota Access Pipeline, actually met in person at a meeting, at which point members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe presented all of their concerns about the pipeline. They strongly opposed it from the start. More than just opposing it, their rights to the land were asserted as well.
Standing Rock tribal elder Phyllis Young opposed the pipeline way back in September of 2014 at the meeting, AM970‘s Mike McFeely wrote. Young’s opposition was made abundantly clear and can be heard in the audio recording from the meeting that took place over two years ago.
“We will put forward our young people, our young lawyers, who understand the weasel words, now, of the English language, who know that one word can mean seven things. We understand the forked tongue that our grandfathers talked about. We know about talking out of both sides of your mouth, smiling with one side of your face. We know all the tricks of the wasichu world. Our young people have mastered it. I have mastered your language. I can speak eloquently in the English language my grandmother taught me. I also have the collective memory of the damages that have occurred to my people. And I will never submit to any pipeline to go through my homeland.”
Jim Fuglie, a former North Dakota Tourism Director, who is among the most prominent bloggers in Bismark, explained that the “most consistent argument made by North Dakota regulators and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline against the protest actions of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies is that the Tribe entered the pipeline approval process too late.”
Fuglie wrote that in November, Energy Transfer Partners’ CEO Kelcy Warren told reporters, “I really wish, for the Standing Rock Sioux, that they had engaged in discussions way before they did. I don’t think we would have been having this discussion if they did. We could have changed the route. It could have been done, but it’s too late.”
In an earlier article about how fake news is affecting Americans perceptions of the pipeline protests and the water protectors, the Inquisitr reported that Joye Braun of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, “We have never ceded this land. If Dakota Access Pipeline can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland,” according to Reuters.
Water protectors have consistently pointed out that the pipeline will cut across unceded Sioux land delimited by the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and another treaty from 1868 in which the Sioux agreed to keep the area for hunting, but to also keep it undeveloped.
Fuglie argued that the recently released audiotape recording of a meeting between the Standing Rock Tribal Council and ETP representatives “reveals the Tribe went on record opposed to the pipeline crossing as early as 2012, and told the company, unequivocally, in September of 2014, more than two years ago, that they opposed the pipeline’s proposed crossing of the Missouri River near their reservation boundary.”
Tribal elder Phyllis Young spoke up at the very end of the 2014 meeting. The elder pointed out that they are Sitting Bull’s people who reside on a previous military fort and whose relatives survived the massacre of Wounded Knee. She says the people of her tribe are survivors, fighters, and protectors. She clearly points out that the Black Hills are Sioux territory. Then, she discusses sacrifice areas. She recalls when a dam for hydropower led to the flooding of her home in the middle of the winter.
“We are not stupid people, we are not ignorant people. Do not underestimate the people of Standing Rock. We know what’s going on, and we know what belongs to us, and we know what we have to keep for our children and our grandchildren. In statute we are also keepers of the river to the east bank. That’s statutory. And the Army corps of Engineers, in all their underhandedness, and their control, they think they have of this river – this is our territory.”
At that 2014 meeting, Young said that the tribe would put its best warriors in the front line adding, “We are the protectors of our nation. The Seven Council Fires. Know who we are.”
Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Waste’Win Young, who Lakota Country Times identified as the daughter of tribal elder Phyllis Young, explained at the meeting that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) gives tribes the right to assign historic significance to any areas that could be threatened by development like a pipeline, even if the project does not fall on tribal land. Amendments to the NHPA were approved in 1992 that gave tribes the right to consult on all projects like the pipeline and the legal right to say no, according to Young. Nevertheless, the pipeline’s route was to cut through unceded Sioux territory. Young even told the pipeline company that their route would cross the Missouri River directly under a village site, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Young concluded that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe firmly opposed the construction of the pipeline over their unceded land and stated, “Thank you guys for coming, but the risks are too great for our children.”
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]