Dakota Access Pipeline | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Access Pipeline

Amy Sisk

More than a month after construction began on a controversial stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the front line of the fight is filled with faces from Alaska to Florida.

The indigenous people here on the North Dakota prairie have waged similar fights on their reservations.

  Take the Sahme family, who set up camp a short walk from the central fire where people converge to hear prayer and song to the place.

“My dad brought a good tent,” said Tiwani Sahme as he opens the zipper.

DAPL protestors say they're here 'for the duration'

Sep 12, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Tipis and tents dot the countryside near the Cannonball River, in south central North Dakota.

The river divides Morton County from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. And it is the home for people protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

All you hear is prayer and song, and an occasional drumbeat. The protestors are celebrating the decision by the US Departments of Justice and Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers, to ask that construction be stopped. It is a change from last weekend, when things became violent.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The federal Justice Department moved to stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline on federal land in North Dakota – and it asked the company to suspend construction work nearby.

That came after a federal District Judge in Washington, DC rejected a motion from the Standing Rock Tribe to temporarily block the project.

The tribe contends sacred burial grounds are being disturbed – and the Army Corps of Engineers did not follow proper procedure when it allowed the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Some North Dakota National Guard soldiers will be on active duty this weekend – because of the continuing protests at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site south of Mandan.

The soldiers are members of the 191st Military Police.

"The Guard members will serve in administrative capacities, and assist in providing security at traffic points," Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) said at a Mandan news conference Thursday.

Courtesy Morton County Sheriff's Department

The Green Party’s Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates face misdemeanor charges in Morton County – for vandalizing heavy equipment belonging to the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jill Stein and Ajamu (ah-ZHA-moo)Baraka (buh-RAWK-uh) are charged with Criminal Trespass and Criminal mischief. And warrants have been issued for their arrests.

The Morton County State’s Attorney’s office says the two went on private property and spray painted slogans on Caterpillar bulldozers. The graffiti said “I approve this message” and “We need decolonization.”

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

This week brings the annual United Tribes Pow-Wow – and the annual Tribal Leaders Summit – to Bismarck.

But with the ongoing protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the organizers actually considered moving, delaying or cancelling this year’s events.

"We had an emergency meeting last week, and that was the discussion," said Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa chairman Richard McCloud, who also chairs the United Tribes board. "Some communities requested we cancel."

Courtesy Morton County Sheriff's Department

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein faces charges after being arrested during the protest at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site, south of Mandan.

Stein is a clean energy advocate.

Stein reportedly used spray paint – to leave a message on one piece of heavy equipment on-site. It read “I Approve This Message.”

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said charges are pending.

Tension Over Dakota Access Pipeline Escalates

Sep 5, 2016
John Corley

The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline escalated this weekend. Private security hired by the developer clashed with protesters at a pipeline construction site.

PSC chairman weighs in on Dakota Access protest

Aug 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said she regrets there has been a conflict over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The company building the pipeline has been met with protestors at the site south of Mandan where the pipe will cross the Missouri River. It will cross several feet below the river’s surface. The protestors – which include members of the Standing Rock tribe – say they worry about potential pipeline leaks, which could affect drinking water.

Dakota Access Pipeline construction stopped

Aug 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said construction of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Mandan has been stopped – for safety reasons.

Kirschmeier said between 1500 and 2000 people are protesting the pipeline. He says Highway 1806 has now been closed just south of the Veterans’ Cemetery to the Sioux County line. Kirschmeyer said the protests have turned – as he put it – “unlawful.”

"Our biggest concern at this point is with traffic safety," Kirschmeier told reporters. "We want to make sure the protestors have the area to protest, but it has to be done legally."

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