Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Oil Company Destroys Burial Sites in Holiday Sneak Attack

No Law Enforcement Present; Private Guards Attack Protestors

Tear gas and dogs were used by private guards to attack Native Americans trying to protect burial grounds from Labor Day weekend destruction by Dakota Access Pipeline bulldozers. Six people were bitten, and about 30 sprayed. One guard and two dogs were taken in for medical treatment.

The crowd dispersed quietly once law enforcement arrived.

Energy Transfer Partners is under fire from all sides as it tries to force its way across the prairie to construct the quasi-legal pipeline. Demonstrators have been camped out since April in protest of the damaging and possibly illegal construction.

The line is planned to go under the Missouri River, threatening the only water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal land. An original pipeline route proposal was rejected for posing exactly the same kind of water source threat to the city of Bismarck, ND.

On Saturday, Dakota Access came in and bulldozed both a sacred site and a grave site before the ND Preservation Office could get there to evaluate, after learning that the paper work and survey had been properly submitted to the court on Friday.

"This demolition is devastating" said Tribal Chairman David Archambault in a press release. "These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground."

Farmers in Iowa are also protesting the pipeline, which maneuvered to gain eminent domain rights and force the sale of private farmland, some of which has been in families for generations. 20 Iowa protesters were arrested and jailed at a march in Boone County last week.

The Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without holding public hearings, as required by the Federal Historic Preservation Act. The route also comes close to protected eagle nesting grounds.

Without proper environmental clearance and ignoring treaties that require consultation with affected Native American tribes, Energy Transfer Partners has managed to sidestep many of the legal safeguards that are meant to protect U.S. citizens from the harm of corporate land projects.

Representatives from Native American groups across the nation have now gathered in support. It is the first time since the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn that all seven council fires of the Great Sioux Nation have camped together.

The encampment, Sacred Stone Camp, now has several thousand people in residence, and they have taken careful steps to provide food, sanitation, and even a school for the growing group.

This protest is completely legal, and organizations as diverse as the National Lawyers Guild, Amnesty International, and Black Lives Matter have spoken out in support.

Regional Law Enforcement has mostly been respectful of the protesters, greeting them politely and providing peaceful road access for marches. Officers have even removed their hats during religious services.

The Standing Rock Sioux have followed all appropriate legal steps to object to the violations that led to inappropriate construction approval, but Energy Transfer Partners is determined to undermine lawful efforts by pushing through with whole scale destruction before the courts can make any rulings.

"We're days away from getting a resolution on the legal issues, and they came in on a holiday weekend and destroyed the site," said Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "What they have done is absolutely outrageous."

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Reader Comments(47)

Paul writes:

Big business tramples over the rights of others yet again. Indians aren't allowed to protect their water? Glad I wasn't there, I would have been violent, and dozens of people 'just doing their jobs' would be seriously hurt. We stole this land and killed millions and millions of native to do so, and when they stand up to protect their clean water, it's perfectly legal to shoot tear gas at them. I'm done, I renounce my citizen ship. The USA is nothing but a bully, and I guarantee most of the world agrees with that sentiment.

yankeebuddha1 writes:

Yankee Buddha stands shoulder to shoulder with the American Indian movement. My prayers to you all in this struggle,

Ihateinjustice writes:

Native Americans were here before any of us. It was purely illegal what the company did. If what they did was legal, why slip in on a holiday to do it? Why were they so much in a hurry to not wait for Tuesday to let things go through the channels of the court? I stand behind the American Indians and the Iowa farmers. Just remember you do not own the home and land you have paid for. At any time the government decides a company can build where you THINK you own a home or land it is theirs for the taking and you have no choice but to give it up or fight. So for those of you hired to troll, I pray this never happens to you, but if it does remember , KARMA is a biach.

RealityCheck writes:

It seems that the use of misdirection and blatant lies are being used by tribesmen and media. The pipeline has been on the table for over 2 years. The Sioux tribe has been invited to the meetings with no tribe leaders attempting to come to meetings. All permits and legal requirements have been met or mitigated to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Time to go away and let people fo their job. The only thing that is being done is giving the tribe a little spotlight. When it's over I assume you will just find another useless cause to back. Maybe a protect the Prarie Dog event should be planned.

Jackbooted writes: you really think republicans are only motivated by money? Bill and Killary take hundreds of millions from big buisness big banks and fogein countries year after year and the tell you they care about income inequality... You are childishly naive.

LenniLenape writes:

Asking the Great Spirit to remove these Europeans from our land... VIOLENTLY as they have done to us born native and indigenous to this land.Stolen, raped, and murdered our land our heritage and our legacy. May true balance be restored, curse og destruction to every single being who agressses against us in word, or deed, curse and destruction upon your lineage....Go Back To Europe. This land is tired of your evil and murder and rape and white savagery..

Sdk writes:

My family is at Standing Rock in support and for all those saying this is a lie and just a way to get attention or that the tribal members acted in violence obviously are ignorant bigoted @ssholes with no respect of those who've been on this land since before it's supposed discovery. It's time for the injustice towards natives finally stopped! They've been brutally murdered, raped, forced from their faith, held lower then a slave, and the last to earn voting Rights and still fight to this day for their land! Enough is enough!

RangeWarrior writes:

Yippy Skippy! They got their 15 minutes of fame now maybe this will die down. The only good news about this whole messis it was a great diversion from that stupid election mess. WTG you have proved nothing

Grower writes:

Looks like pipeline has hired internet trolls to discount information in this article. Typica.

Rdkdave writes:

They were going to run this pipeline under the same river, but just outside of Bismarck, but when the public of Bismark heard this they said you will absolutely not threaten OUR Easter supply. So they move the pipeline to outside the Sioux reservation, and this river also supplied THEIR water. But government says that's fine. And also, the day AFTER tribal council filed the proper paperwork in court, they bulldoze the sacred land BEFORE the government can send researchers to validate invalidate the tubes claims of sacred burial grounds. This days to me that the construction company KNEW that they were bulldozing sacred ground. This needs to stop. And stop now. Enough of the government's and corporate America abuse of Native Americans.

sad1 writes:

The company that commited the atrocities against the Native American burial grounds should be fired & prosecuted for these actions.. These actions show they have no respect for anyone or anything..😡

Topper writes:

Santa Monica Observer is a Liberal Media that has no regard for the truth. NONE of the excavation occurred on the so called Tribal or Sacred ground. The fact that the Observer says so, does not make it the truth. Do some independent research on your own before you make a fool out of yourself and post something stupid!

Clark writes:

This article is so full of lies it's pathetic. The protestors broke through a fence surrounding non reservation, privately owned land with weapons to attack the workers. They deserved what they got.

Blahblah writes:

The claims that burial grounds were destroyed are just that claims, there is no evidence that they were in the path of the pipeline. It's just a way for protesters to slow down construction knowing very well there most likely wasn't a burial site. Also violence doesn't solve anything and there is plenty of that going on there!!

factsorfiction writes:

What is going on here is not as simple as this article makes it out to be. Just a few facts: The process for identifying historic properties and assessing impacts to those properties are stipulated in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Based on the actual facts of this situation, the permits for the use of this land were LEGALLY granted to the Army Corps. In terms of the Section 106 Process of the NHPA, this is not tribal land, therefore the tribes are not required signatories on the project. However, this does not mean that the US Army Corps of Engineers did not shirk their consultation responsibilities. This is a pattern with the Corps that has been addressed by the ACHP numerous times and which continues to be problematic. But, it's not as easy as saying that the construction companies are purposefully bulldozing through sites without anyone watching. It would behoove the author of this piece, and others to inform themselves of the legal processes in play here.

jhwaaser writes:

Any permits for construction on ancient gravesites were illegally granted. PERIOD! The laws of this country are intended to preserve such sites. The shills on here taking issue with the protestors, either don't know the law, or they are ignoring it deliberately. The Indians should be able to recoup millions in civil court!

debspeacework writes:

What is occurring is disgraceful. Our nation gave property to the Native Americans which had little value. Through time the land has been taken back as soon as it is determined it has any value--mineral rights, oil pipeline. We should be ashamed. But, if the Republicans get their way and privatize public lands it will only get worse. I stand with the Native American Tribes.

Tragopan writes:

This corporate takeover of Native American sacred sites is disgusting! I have read that Anonymous is going to get involved and help in this fight. Great. They will do a good job. We all need to support these protestors because their fight is OUR fight to protect our country from complete devastation by corporations seeking only profit at the expense of others.

Truth writes:

This article is what you would call biased and inaccurate, first they have all the correct permits for construction to begin. There has been ample time for anybody to put their two cents in before they started moving dirt. Second the proposed route doesn't cross the reservation, it merely crosses underneath the river near there, so when saying they are taking land away is false. Third protesters are being the aggressors, ask yourself why would they need security if the protest was peaceful? There is plenty of videos and first hand accounts to show the truth, a little research goes a long way but the truth would be harmful to their false narrative. It's pretty sad when the media can't accurately provide the people with all the facts so they could make an informed opinion on the subject. Don't be fooled by the lies and the words that protesters are using to advance their agenda. It comes down to the fact that most people against the pipeline don't know pipeline and the process

Granddaughter writes:

What you can do- visit the Standing Rock Tribe's webpage!

Becca writes:

You can tell who the hired corporate schills/trolls are on here. They are mocking the tribes and even using the same -brainwashing- talking point verbatim. You're getting sloppy guys! When you pay idiots to write nasty posts under different fake names to try to influence public opinion, remind the hirelings that they can't just cut and paste duh--makes it too obvious. The reality is that the vast majority of Americans stand with the Native Americans, can recognize this as an injustice and would be thrilled if your morally bankrupt company loses.

MNaware writes:

Go to Natl. Geographic, Sept. 2016 issue:Grand Canyon For Sale. This situation with pipelines is just one aspect of a larger problem of corporate takeover of the People's Land...Governors want federal lands ceded to state authority..then, they will be sold to the highest bidder. Become aware, and activate yourself before We The People lose everything which is ours. Fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership because this and others like it give corporations power over governments to protect their own people and resources. Your voice matters. Corporations are gaining powers over government, and we must stop it.

Yenelli writes:

Corporate mercenaries AND law enforcement need to fess up! The injured from the dog bites need critical medical attention, whether the 6 people, or an unpublished number of animals! Send the pipeline through white man's land. Trained in Israel? Yep. Piracy. Corporatist piracy.

SouthsideIrish writes:

Haven't we stolen enough land from the American Indians? We made treaties with them and ignore them. Supposedly we live in a nation of laws. How do we permit a business concern to force Native Americans off their land, a burial site, with goons and attack dogs?

AngryVet writes:

Nobody cares what the pipeline is for. You act like your argument of the difference in crudes is validated and that it makes it ok to trample the lives and environment that is home to the Sioux... it does not. No oil needs to ever be burned again (since 1900). No more tribes lands need excavating. Its 2016. Stop being stupid.

WhoknowsWhoLies writes:

Imofanopion - Need to get your facts straight or it will undercut your arguments. This is not heavy tar sands crude from Canada. This pipeline is to carry, light crude produced from the Bakken in the Dakotas. And it is not just for export but for refining at Gulf Cost refineries. If they actually violated Native American burial grounds, none of that matters, to me, but it does not help you to argue wrong facts.

Mylovetowe writes:

The systematic encroachment on the land and the rights of all peoples started with the Native Americans , continues to dismantle the rights and liberties of Native Americans historically before a passive attitude towards others. big Corporations who own and Pimp Congress and the House of representatives, are completely indignant towards others. The are the tools of the evil in this nation, and always have been. Now in the age of information our oral tradition and stories of this great evil will live as long as perpetrators of injustice.

Christina30 writes:

If a pipeline was proposed to go through a white town, nice cemetery, with a fence and carved headstones to dig up where the founding fathers and your family was buried you'd be losing your minds. The corporation would say Pardon us, we'll go elsewhere. How are Native Americans being treated with less respect? This is egregious display of White entitlement and greed...not need. When you take away the obvious lack of humanity, it doesn't matter who is protecting a clean water source for millions. At least SOMEONE is protecting it while the media and law enforcement protect the corporation hell bent on destroying it.

HAMLUVR writes:

How can those who drove the bulldozers, those security guards who used pepper spray, physical violence, and thos who were handling the guard dogs sleep at night? You all have sold out your fellow human beings for $$$$. Where are the corporate and government leaders that decided that this should happen? Where is Obama? Everyone is upset when ISIS destroys archaeological sites half way across the world. Here it is happening in our own back yard and no one seems to care.

Imofanopinion writes:

--There is soooo much bias here. This was approved a long time ago. These Native Americans are trying to brainwash the public with words like sacred and tribal. Approved by who?? The article states -- The Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without holding public hearings, as required by the Federal Historic Preservation Act. Not exactly by the people and for the people! This is not even a USA pipeline - allow more crude oil to flow from the tar sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It was hoped that, in addition to feeding U.S. refineries, Canadian oil could also be transported from the Texas Gulf Coast to points beyond the United States, namely Latin America and Europe. Bet if this was your local Church graveyard you would be feeling different!

Sbwa writes:

What I noted is there had been note one picture of of all these bones said to be dug up. Hundreds of reports. Over 600 tribes. Over 6 million people and the report is noe 3000 and 200 tribes and part of that is from Canada. I did note the gas hogs parked. As for the law and taking homed for other uses. Well that has been going on for ever. Nothing new. And many would say happens to every race. So without proof I sign nothing.

Todmontana writes:

There is soooo much bias here. This was approved a long time ago. These Native Americans are trying to brainwash the public with words like sacred and tribal.

evemo writes:

If you think this is bad, just wait till they pass the TPP! We will have no rights at all! If a corporation wants to build a building and your house is in the way they will push you out, tear down your home and there will be nothing you can do about it! We need to stop them now and tell your representatives to say No to the TPP!!!

PennyMom writes:

Congress, come to your senses. Tend to your fellow citizens, uphold your oaths, listen to your constituents, take care of our planet, and most of all, respect and love all Americans ( and whole world) and follow the teachings of the one so many of you profess to love. Yes, I'm talking Jesus here.

NDakotan writes:

Wow. I guess integrity is not this reporters strong point ... or too lazy to present both sides.

DJP writes:

I think it is time for USA CITIZENS to take back our country from all the EVIL CORPORATIONS and ALL POLITICIANS in WASHINGTON DC

danwriter16 writes:

So the oil company filed the papers on FRIDAY AFTERNOON BEFORE LABOR DAY WEEKEND? And then on Monday, Labor Day, no one from the government had show up yet to evaluate the situation, so they just go ahead and bulldoze and tear-gas their way through? These guys ought to be charged with terrorism.

MsDaisy writes:

So going back to the BEGINNING, the 'White man' 'gave' the Indians this land to be THEIRS. Then THAT land has been reduced and reduced. Again there has been a reason found to intrude on THEIR land. Same excuse, PROGRESS. Same story, different generation. In the other corner is the pipeline Workers. They work , they get paid very well and they also have families to provide for. In the middle , stirring the pot, is the MONEY. They have their eye solely on the cash, the bottom line. Point A to point B the quickest, easiest and cheapest way possible; No Matter What! Same story... Dig out movie Fern Gully.

Nichols writes:

Where are lawyers that should be jumping all over this!! This company needs sued.

Meme writes:

I am so saddened and outraged at this total abuse of power by a corporation. I am having a hard time imagining how any decent human being could destroy that which is not theirs knowing that it is sacred to others. Somebody stop them. Anyone reading this could call the White House 202-456-1111 and comment on this.

Stef writes:

This is SO outrageous!! Why is the Sioux Nation not getting more help to stop this greedy, law-breaking corporation?!? I sure wish I could go and be there to support the Sioux!!

TBare writes:

Big business and politics. It's all about $$$...

NancyD writes:

Ok, this is beyond wrong. As citizens of tge US, what can we do to help on an individual basis? Many will assist; tell us what to do

Gayfor writes:

When corporations ignore the law it is essential that citizens boycott and do whatever is in their legal means to stop them. Corporations have too much power and until Citizens United is overturned this type of power abuse will only get worse. Our democracy is being destroyed bit by bit!

tattoodanya writes:

Why don't they run it through Bismarck. Wonder why they don't want to. Yeah just run it down stream who cares about a bunch of natives right white devils! You ppl make me sick! Just keep messing up the earth so you can have material possessions.

Czarina writes:

Where is Anonymous?

Terri writes:

What they have done is immoral, illegal and this construction should be shut down. I stand with the native Americans, the Iowa farmers and anybody taking a stand against these corporate thugs. They need to be halted even if it takes the military themselves. Hateful self serving evil group..