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LPLP at Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Camp

The Lakota People’s Law Project stands with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Our South Dakota staff is on the ground supporting the movement, and we’ve been sending other staff there as well documenting the water protectors and their internal meetings. You can find these telling videos here. Madonna Thunder Hawk, Dawn Decora, and James Hawk, our tribal liaisons, have been working closely with the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp to ensure that there is adequate security and that the sanctity of the camp is upheld. Chase Iron Eyes, our lead attorney in South Dakota, has been giving rousing speeches and housing water protectors. Chris Sherertz, our videographer, has been sent to the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp to document this historic gathering, and was asked to record treaty meetings for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates. Help our team by donating here.

Madonna Thunder Hawk has been at the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp since April and helps facilitate main camp cerimonies. As a respected elder with a long history of activism, she is an important leader for the Water Protectors and the whole Očhéthi Šakówiŋ.
Chase Iron Eyes has housed many leaders from around the country at his house in Fort Yates, 20 minutes from the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp.  He has given many strong speeches and is a prominent figure in the community and the movement. 

James Hawk and Dawn Decora are back and forth between Standing Rock and Pine Ridge helping us negotiate with tribal councils around 4E issues as well as helping with security and organizing at the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp. They are currently helping plan and gather resources for winterizing camp.
Chris Sherertz was at the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp for nearly half of September documenting direct actions, speeches and general goings on at camp.  He was also invited to film treaty meetings for Standing Rock which included Dennis Banks, Phyllis Young, Bill Means, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Steve Newcomb and others in Fort Yates.


DAPL Planning and Action Timeline:

The future operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Sunoco Logistics Partners, has spilled crude more often than any of its competitors with more than 200 leaks since 2010.

2/17/15: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sends a letter to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) initiating permitting process. The USACE in accordance with National Historic Preservation Act (Sec.106) is required to consult with interested tribes on the pipeline’s potential impacts. THPO requests a full archaeological investigation, and after not hearing back on specific concerns sends follow-up letters Feb. 25 and again Apr. 8.

9/15/15: A second form letter from the USACE arrives Sept. 15 asking if the Chairman would like to consult on the project. The THPO responds again, highlighting concerns about “significant and unevaluated properties” on the site, and its exclusion from the National Historic Preservation Act evaluation process. THPO concludes that “it has become clear that the Corps is attempting to circumvent the Section 106 process.”

Dec. 2015: USACE publishes environmental assessment (EA) saying that “the Standing Rock THPO had indicated to DAPL that the Lake Oahu site avoided impacts to tribally significant sites.” The U.S. Department of Interior, American Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and Environmental Protection Agency send critical letters to the Corps about their assessment. Concerns are now being voiced by other tribes whose ancestral lands are planned to be crossed by the pipeline, including the Osage Nation and Iowa Tribe THPO, who wrote to ACHP: “We have not been consulted in an appropriate manner about the presence of traditional cultural properties, sites, or landscapes vital to our identity and spiritual well-being.”

4/22/16: The Corps concludes their investigation, finding that no historic properties are affected. This decision is made despite major concerns about the Section 106 evaluation process and stated worries from ACHP.

5/16/16: Construction begins on all three sections of the 346-mile, $1.4 billion ND segment.

Mid-July 2016: Rezpect Our Water petition started by Standing Rock youth, send out a 500-mile run to D.C to deliver a petition signed by more than 160,000 calling for the stopping of the DAPL.

7/25/16: Corps issues final fast-track permit to continue construction. Even though it’s slated to pass underneath the Missouri River, half a mile upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, the final environmental assessment concludes there will be “no direct or indirect impacts.”

8/4/16: An injunction is filed by the Standing Rock Sioux, represented by Earthjustice, suing the USACE and asking the court to get the Corps to withdraw the fast-track permit.

8/10/16: Construction under the Missouri River begins and ten water protectors are arrested the following day for blocking the entrance to the site where pipeline workers were unloading heavy equipment. Within a week the number of water protectors increases to more than 2,500. Highways leading to the site are shut down.

8/15/16: Chairman Archambault II issues worldwide appeal, “To all Native American Tribes in the US and to all Indigenous Peoples of the world, please stand with Standing Rock by issuing proclamations, resolutions, and/or letters of support.”

8/19/16: North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple declares state of emergency for southwest and central ND in response to water protectors gaining momentum.

8/22/16: Construction sites at Cannon Ball, ND are being blocked by water protectors. Tribal members from dozens of tribes show up in support. Water protector numbers continue to rise, resulting in the division director of homeland security to order the removal of state-owned water tanks and trailers that were providing water protector camps with drinking water. Pipeline officials claim the project is already 48 percent complete.

8/24/16: Hundreds of protesters gather in D.C waiting for the decision in the case that is delayed to September 9.

8/30/16: Navajo Nation President supports water protectors by traveled to Standing Rock.

9/2/16: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues sides with Standing Rock, says pipeline’s route was mapped out without adequate consultation.

9/3/16: A sacred Standing Rock Sioux tribal burial site is plowed through by Dakota Access bulldozers, the permits for that land were contested in the Standing Rock lawsuit. Videos surface showing private security attacking water protectors with dogs and mace. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed and a child and five others were bitten by dogs.

9/6/16: A temporary halt for a portion of the pipeline is issued by US District Judge James Boasberg, but it’s too late to save the burial ground. At this point there are more than 100 tribes represented, and the protest is considered to be one of the largest Native American protests in United States history.

9/7/16: An arrest warrant is issued for presidential candidate Jill Stein after she spray-paints a bulldozer.

9/8/16: The North Dakota National Guard is called in by Governor Jack Dalrymple to increase enforcement at the protest site.

9/9/16: Construction is allowed to continue as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s injunction request is denied by District Judge James Boasberg. The Department of Justice, Department of the Army and Department of the Interior issue a joint statement refusing to authorize construction in the Lake Oahe area near the water protectors, and they ask Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily stop construction within 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe until it can be determined that the construction violates the National Environmental Policy Act. (note: DAPL can continue construction on the remainder of DAPL, which it must do to meet its Jan. 2017 completion deadline and honor supply contracts. The total route extends over 1172 miles.)

9/10/16: An arrest warrant is issued for renowned Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman, who has been filming brutal actions by security guards against water protectors.  

9/13/16: Mass arrests begin, around 20 water protectors alongside medics and journalists are arrested at gunpoint.

9/16/16: Restraining order against Chairman Archambault II and other tribal leaders is dissolved by a federal judge in Bismarck.

9/17/16: Police arrest more than 40 water protectors (including five juveniles) for “trespassing”

9/20/16: Chairman Archambault II addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to garner international support against the pipeline.

9/27/16: The Dakota Access Pipeline company bought the Cannonball Ranch, a multi-thousand acre piece of land just north of the water protector camp from private landowners.  

9/28/16: Twenty-one people are arrested by police carrying assault rifles while they were conducting Native American ceremonies to block construction of the pipeline.

10/6/16: There are more than 2,000 water protectors at this point. Construction is halted at multiple sites, the Morton County sheriff says he assigned more resources to the area and will call in deputies from other states to respond to water protectors. (Since protests began, Morton County received assistance from 268 officers from 24 different counties and cities in ND.)

10/10/16: Twenty-seven people including actress Shailene Woodley were arrested at Standing Rock for “trespassing.” The Justice Department, the Army and the Interior Department issued a second joint statement, “The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe. We repeat our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” Documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg arrested while filming demonstrators who shut down tar sands pipelines in Wallhala. Charged with three felonies, all conspiracy charges that carry a sentence of up to 45 years in prison.

10/11/16: A federal appeals court denied Standing Rock’s request for an injunction to block construction. The ruling allows for construction to continue near the Standing Rock reservation. Ten activists from the group Climate Direct Action are arrested for attempting to shut down all tar sands oil by turning off pipelines in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Washington state. The group says their action was in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock.

10/18: Standing Rock Sioux tribal council votes to allow its land to be used as a new site for Native Americans and their supporters to protests against DAPL. The camp has between 500-700 people and the new site is about two miles south of the Seven Council Fires camp on US Army Corps of Engineers property.

10/19: Shailene Woodley pleads not guilty to criminal trespass and riot charges.

10/22: A total of 127 water protectors are arrested on various charges, including criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, engaging in a riot, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

10/23: Drone camera being used to document police encounters is shot down by law enforcement. Blockades are set up on Highway 1806 and another on county road 134 to protect the camp from militarized law enforcement, the Highway 1806 blockade is later removed after discussion with law enforcement. Chairman Archambault II asks the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately intervene in the escalating situation.

10/24: A group of water protectors moved their camp to Cannonball Ranch (recently purchased by Dakota Access), the Oceti Sakowin says it is enacting eminent domain on DAPL lands (citing the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie to argue ownership).

10/25: Actor Mark Ruffalo makes an appearance at the new camp in support of the protest, and former Vice President Al Gore pens a letter affirming the Standing Rock’s opposition to the pipeline. Meanwhile, water protectors brace themselves for escalating military and police force, with pipeline company Dakota Access LLC issuing a statement that trespassers will be prosecuted and “removed from the land”.

The same day, Federal Aviation Administration issues a no-fly zone over the contested lands through November 4. Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault II issues a statement calling upon the Department of Justice to investigate the policing of the protests against Dakota Access.

10/26: Rev. Jesse Jackson visits protesters to affirm his support, calling the situation the “ripest case of environmental racism I’ve seen in a long time”. An investigation concludes that the dogs used on Sep. 3 against the protesters were not properly licensed.

10/27: After a tense standoff on Highway 1806, law enforcement officials forcibly remove protesters from private land near Cannonball, ND, dismantling a barricade and arresting 141 activists in total. More than 200 police were on the scene, clad in riot gear with humvees. Their tactics against the protesters include the use of a sound cannon, non-lethal bean bags, and tear gas. According to the Morton County Sheriff Department, some of the protesters were arrested under suspicion of reckless endangerment, and others on suspicion of conspiracy to endanger by fire or explosion, engaging in a riot and maintaining a public nuisance.

A herd of buffalo stampede around 2:45 p.m, soliciting cheers from the protesters.

10:28: Following the hostile confrontation between protesters and police, Amnesty International USA issues a press release stating that they’ve sent a delegation of human rights observers to monitor militarization of the police.

10/29: Protesters that were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 27 and held in Morton County Jail allege that they were detained in dog kennels without furniture, and were strip searched and marked with numbers.

10:28: Following the hostile confrontation between protesters and police, Amnesty International USA issues a press release stating that they’ve sent a delegation of human rights observers to monitor militarization of the police.

10/29: Protesters that were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 27 and held in Morton County Jail allege that they were detained in dog kennels without furniture, and were strip searched and marked with numbers.

11/2: Water protectors face off with militarized law enforcement near mouth of Cannonball River, they are met with pepper spray, rubber bullets and tear gas. There are two arrests and some water protectors are treated for hypothermia.

President Obama says the Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether the pipeline can be rerouted due to concerns from water protectors. Emergency commission meets in ND Governor’s office and voted to borrow an additional $4 million to fund law enforcement deployments (total line of credit extended to ND DoES is $10 million)

11/7: Norwegian bank DNB says it is “reconsidering its participation” in financing the DAPL. They are loaning about 10% of the cost of the project, roughly $350 million. This is in the face of more than 20 environmental groups, led by Netherlands based advocacy organization “BankTrack” calling on the banks funding the DAPL to halt further loan payments.

11/8: Energy Transfer Partners announces that drilling under Lake Oahe will start in two weeks despite government agencies requests to wait for easement. They expect to complete the project by the end of the year, drilling under the lake is the last phase of construction and would join the two already completed sections of the pipeline.

North Dakota Public Service Commission propose a $15,000 fine toward Dakota Access for failing to properly notify authorities after unearthing culturally significant artifacts, which violates the terms of their permit.

11/10: Pipeline specialist comments that the environmental assessment of Dakota Access was “seriously deficient” and underestimated the possibility of contaminating the Missouri River. Indigenous Rising Media releases drone footage of buffalo being corralled behind razor wire and trenches adjacent to the pipeline construction site.

11/11: A confrontation between approximately 100 water protectors and police occurs at one of several blockades erected on HWY 6 in Mandan, ND. Morton County police arrest 37 protesters following significant destruction to construction equipment near the site.

11/12: Water protectors hold a prayer march on dirt road near Dakota Access operations in Mandan, ND. Angered by the demonstration, an armed white man fires several shots into the air, and attempts to run his truck into the crowd, running over and injuring at least one person. Morton County Police are investigating the matter.

11/14: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers places a hold on tunneling below Lake Oahe (the Missouri River), citing insufficient review of environmental factors and lack of tribal consultation. In a joint statement with the Department of the Interior, the Corps asserts that “The Army will work with the Tribe on a timeline that allows for robust discussion and analysis to be completed expeditiously.”

Energy Transfer Partners file a cross-claim, arguing that the easement was already given to Dakota Access by the Corps, thus giving them the legal right-of-way to complete the pipeline.

11/15: A National Day of Action is held in over 300 cities across the United States, with thousands of people demonstrating at Army Corps of Engineers offices and at banks financing the pipeline construction. 

At a protest in Cannonball, 25 water protectors are arrested, some maced, for attempting to block a railroad with a pickup truck.

Maina Kiai, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, releases a statement condemning the use of excessive force against the protesters, calling their containment “inhuman and degrading”. 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental attorney and president of the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, visits the camp Tuesday, calling the Dakota Access pipeline an “environmental crime.” 

11/16: Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren tells PBS “we’re building the pipeline”.

11/17: A judge throws out several felony conspiracy charges against the protesters arrested during the Oct. 27 raid. 

How Does it Violate Federal Law?

1868 Fort Laramie Treaty: Guarantees the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe shall enjoy the “undisturbed use and occupation” of their permanent homeland and the Reservation.

Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice: The original route of the DAPL was across the Missouri River north of Bismarck, but the crossing was moved to “avoid populated areas,” so now it’s planned to cross the aquifer of the Great Sioux Reservation instead of crossing upriver of the state’s capital.

Pipeline Safety Act and Clean Water Act: The emergency plan for the pipeline must estimate the maximum possible spill (49 CFR 195.452(h)(iv)(i)), but the DAPL refuses to release this information to the tribe. DAPL hasn’t identified publicly the Missouri River crossing as high consequence even though it would cross critical drinking water and intakes for the water systems.

National Environmental Policy Act: Detailed Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are to be completed for major actions affecting the environment. Dakota Access has only done an Environmental Assessment, which is a lesser study commonly used by agencies to circumvent a more thorough EIS. A EIS would determine direct and indirect effects of the project and “possible conflicts...with Indian land use plans and policies…(and) cultural resources” 40 CFR 1502.16

Executive Order 13007 on Protection of Sacred Sites: Given there are historical ceremony sites and burial grounds in the immediate area of the Missouri River crossing, and that this executive order says “in managing federal lands, each executive branch agency shall avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sites,” the Corps must deny the DAPL permit.

Who’s Financially Supporting it?

38 banks are directly supporting the companies building the pipeline, totaling $10.25 billion in loans and credit facilities. These banks are increasing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Energy Transfer Family:

Sunoco Logistics: ($2.5 billion revolving credit from 24 banks) (provides transportation, terminalling and acquisition and marketing services to crude oil markets. Energy Transfer Partnership owns a 99.9% interest in Sunoco Partners LLC.)

Energy Transfer Partners: ($3.75 billion revolving credit from 26 banks, going toward expanding oil and gas infrastructure holdings)

Energy Transfer Equity: ($1.5 billion revolving credit from 26 banks) (a sister partnership to Energy Transfer Partners)

Dakota Access: ($2.5 billion project-level loans by 17 banks for construction of pipeline) (subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, which is part of the Energy Transfer Company)

List of banks:

Bank of Nova Scotia: $100 million (Sunoco Logistics)

Citizens Bank: $72.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)

Comerica Bank: $72.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)

US Bank: $275 million (Sunoco Logistics) (Energy Transfer Partners)

PNC Bank: $270 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Barclays: $370.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

JP Morgan Chase: $312.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Bank of America: $350.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Deutsche Bank: $275.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Compass Bank: $340.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Credit Suisse: $340.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

DNB Capital/ASA: $340.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank: $265.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Royal Bank of Canada: $340.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

UBS: $336.4 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Goldman Sachs: $243.9 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Morgan Stanley: $225.1 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Community Trust: $30 million  (Energy Transfer Partners)

HSBC Bank: $189 million  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Wells Fargo: $467 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

BNP Paribas: $444.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

SunTrust: $435 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

Royal Bank of Scotland: $250.5 million  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity)

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ: $548 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

Mizuho Bank: $589.5 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

Citibank: $521.8 million (Sunoco Logistics)  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

TD Securities: $365 million (Sunoco Logistics) (Dakota Access)

ABN Amro Capital: $45 million (Energy Transfer Equity)

Credit Agricole: $344.5 million  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

Intesa Sanpaolo: $339 million (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

ING Bank: $248.3 milllion  (Energy Transfer Partners) (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

Natixis: $180 million (Energy Transfer Equity) (Dakota Access)

BayernLB: $120 million (Dakota Access)

BBVA Securities: $120 million (Dakota Access)

DNB First Bank: $120 million (Dakota Access)

ICBC London: $120 million (Dakota Access)

SMBC Nikko Securities: $120 million (Dakota Access)

Societe Generale: $120 million (Dakota Access)


List of Tribes supporting Standing Rock (full list is more than 200):

List of Organizations supporting Standing Rock:

Infograph of banks:'s-banking-dakota-access-pipeline

Dakota Access FAQ sheet: