Native Americans protest pipeline over sacred grounds

Posted By: Sarah Fili

The Dakota Access Pipeline will span four states, but many Native Americans are protesting its path.

The multi-billion dollar project will span North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, but the construction has made the back and forth between the company and Native Americans in the area tense. A federal judge has issued an order to temporarily halt construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Energy Transfer Partners plan calls for a pipeline transporting 470,000 barrels of crude oil across four states per day from North Dakota to Illinois.

That isn’t sitting well with Native Americans in North Dakota.

It’ll cross at least two major water supplies, one of them, the Missouri river. But there’s another problem.

The pipeline runs directly over the Great Sioux nation’s sacred burial ground. Natives say the company moved up construction over the holiday weekend, bulldozing through the graves.

One day before, the tribe had filed papers with a federal court, saying the burial ground was of great cultural and historical significance to them.

More than 500 Native Americans gathered in North Dakota to fight for clean water and protest the desecration of sacred land.

"This is the first time The Great Sioux Nation, so all seven bands,  has been together since the battle of little big horn in [1867],” one protester said.

Some even rushed construction workers, clashing with hired security as the site was dug up.

"I wasn’t expecting them to mace, it came out of now where.  They let the dogs loose on a horse, and they maced a woman in the face, this close range, that’s what started it all," a protester said.

They also claim a private security company hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline sicked dogs on the water protectors attacking them and drawing blood.

Lawyers for the Energy Partners deny disturbing any resting grounds and say they are taking every precaution to protect the sites.

This temporary stop is part of a bigger lawsuit filed in July against the Army Corp of Engineers who granted construction on the project.

The pipeline is expected to be finished this year- but again, has been halted for now.