|Photo copyright Greg Grey Cloud, Camp of the Sacred Stones|
By Brenda Norrell
updated Tuesday night
BISMARCK, North Dakota -- The billion-dollar oil corporation Dakota Access Pipeline has filed for a restraining order against the Dakota and Lakota land and water defenders who are sacrificing their all to protect their water source of the Missouri River.
Dakota Access Pipeline has named Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault, Councilman Dana Yellow Fat, and individual land and water defenders in a temporary restraining order filed yesterday by the pipeline in federal court here.
The move against the Dakota and Lakota officials, and individual land and water defenders, is seen as an attack on some of the most financially desperate people in America.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted the Dakota Access pipeline a temporary injunction today, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, at 10:20 a.m., effective when the defendants are served.
Cheyenne River Lakota Natalie Stites urged the water and land defenders to continue in prayer and peaceful protest.
"Oyate! Allies! Take Courage!" said Stites, who was recently at the Sacred Stones Camp, and is a law graduate of UCLA.
"You have constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The temporary restraining order issued by the North Dakota District Court today prohibits interference in their operations, the surveying, construction, tool, etc."
"The order does not and cannot stop anyone from peacefully, prayerfully and non-violently protesting the desecration of our lands and poisoning of our water on the front line."
Judge Hovland's ruling clearly sides with the pipeline and big business. The order ignores the threat to Native Americans water source, the Missouri River, which will affect future generations.
Judge Hovland's ruling follows the pattern in Indian country of federal judges ignoring Indigenous Peoples rights, ignoring Treaty rights and ignoring tribal sovereignty.
Judge Hovland's order fails to adhere to the United States government's requirement of corporations to consult with Indian Tribes. Further, it fails to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which requires "free, prior and informed consent" before corporations enter Indigenous Peoples territory, disrupt their natural resources, and engage in development.
Jody Ernest read the order and points out the failure of the court to recognize the long term harm that would come from a crude oil pipeline under the Missouri River. "Aside from the usual trampling on the rights of indigenous people, this whole thing is about the long-term harm!"
Judge Hovland's ruling in favor of a temporary restraining order asserts that corporation profits are more important than the threat to Native Americans:
Even if the Defendants are able to demonstrate that they will suffer harm, such harm will likely be short-lived.
The balance of harm factor clearly favors Dakota Access. Given the relatively short time period and the potential for Dakota Access to suffer lengthy and costly delays resulting in significant harm, the Court finds the 'balance of harm' Dataphase factor strongly weighs in favor of issuance of an ex parte temporary restraining order.
Judge Hovland scheduled a hearing for Thursday, August 25, 2016, at 2:30 p.m., in the Eagle Courtroom in U.S. District Court in Bismarck, to determine whether a preliminary injunction will be granted.
The temporary restraining order prohibits threats of violence or harm, and criminal activity.
It does not restrict peaceful protest, which the judge states is part of democracy.
The order states that persons at the construction site would also be served with the notice of the temporary restraining order by the pipeline.
While the pipeline claims fear of the Dakotas and Lakotas, Native Americans gather to defend the land and water point out that the pipeline company, Dakota Access pipeline, is the predator.
The ridiculous and exaggerated claims of the pipeline in the order include the following. Apparently, "traveling on foot," is a frightening idea for pipeline workers.
Dakota Access representatives did not engage in any construction activities on August 13, 2016; however, protests continued at the construction site and spread to nearby roadways. See Docket No. 6. At one point, a group of individuals blocked traffic by traveling on foot on N.D. Highway 1806 for two miles, heading north from the Cannon Ball Bridge to the construction site.
The temporary restraining order is a crushing blow to Native Americans who believed in the U.S. justice system. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation welcomed President Obama in 2014 to see the desperate needs for himself.
The Dakota Access pipeline quickly obtained U.S. permits, brought in heavy equipment and began digging last week. Hundreds of Native Americans began protesting and defending the Missouri River.
The Dakota Access pipeline plans to tunnel under the river for the crude oil pipeline, creating an environmental nightmare for future generations who depend on the river for drinking water and survival.
In July, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, accusing the federal agency of violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws.
Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault said this greed is represented in a black poisonous snake.
"Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this."
"Our instructions say snakes are good – they serve a great purpose in the web of life. Our elders and the elders before them have given us wonderful teachings and a beautiful way to live and co-exist with all that is, however, the black poisonous snake we are being warned about does not come from the Creator. It is man-made and the creature is made of nothing but Greed. There is nothing good that has ever come from Greed. Greed is pure poison. It blinds and twists thinking. It is what my people have endured and continue to endure."
While the Standing Rock Sioux Nation is still waiting to have their case heard in court, Dakota Access pipeline -- flanked by dozens of North Dakota Highway Patrol, Morton County deputies and DAPL private security -- ramrodded into the area and began digging before the tribe's case has been heard in court.
Meanwhile, support continues to pour in to Standing Rock.
The Northern Cheyenne in Lame Deer, Montana, sent their support today in a resolution unanimously passed by the Tribal Council. The Northern Cheyenne Nation said its villages and burial sites -- which shows their peoples footprint -- are threatened by the pipeline.
The Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas also sent its support for the protection of Missouri River water rights of 28 Indian Nations. The Kickapoo point out the failure of the US Corps of Engineers and the lack of a real environmental assessment.
Hoopa Valley in California also answered the call for support, recalling when they earlier had a call to arms to defend their rights. Hoopa Valley is sending donations and giving employees time off to go to North Dakota and support Standing Rock. Further, Hoopa Valley will be seeking out alternative energy sources in support of the struggle.
These are the latest Indian Nations, in a long list of Indian Nations, supporting the actions and ongoing water defense of the Missouri River by Standing Rock Sioux Nation and water defenders camped at the Camp of Sacred Stones, near the banks of the Cannon Ball River, a tributary of the Missouri River.
Map of new pipeline system from Alberta tar sands to Gulf, carried out in secret, and now includes Dakota Access Pipeline, and investor Enbridge of dirty tar sands fame in Alberta.
Please see below both federal court actions filed. Check back for more on this breaking news. (Use bar on right side to scroll down the lawsuits. Pop out to enlarge.)