Tag Archives: American Indian tribe

Memo: No Native American Artifacts or Remains Found at Dakota Access Pipeline Site

File photo of protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline looking over a fence on top of a hill on the west side of the Missouri River at pipeline construction crews as they work on the other side of the river on Aug. 16, 2016. Christopher Juhn for MPR News File

File photo of protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline looking over a fence on top of a hill on the west side of the Missouri River at pipeline construction crews as they work on the other side of the river on Aug. 16, 2016. Christopher Juhn for MPR News File

Draft Memo: No artifacts, remains found

The Associated Press · Sep 27, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota state inspection of an oil pipeline site has found no sign of the Native American artifacts or human remains that an American Indian Tribe says are present, the state’s chief archaeologist said in a draft memo.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe had cited the potential for burial grounds and other artifacts as a major reason to lead protests that have stymied completion of the project.

Chief Archaeologist Paul Picha said in the memo first published Monday by conservative blogger Rob Port that seven state archeologists inspected the 1.3-mile section along the route of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline in southern North Dakota. The memo said only some animal teeth and bone fragments were found during the survey last week.

Historical Society spokeswoman Kim Jondahl confirmed the contents of the memo but said it was “a first draft of an internal summary.” She declined to say how the draft differed from later versions.

In early September, Standing Rock Sioux officials said crews bulldozed several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” on private land, which Dallas-based pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners denies. It led to a clash between protesters and private security guards hired by the pipeline company. Law enforcement officials said four security guards and two guard dogs received medical treatment, while a tribal spokesman countered that six people were bitten by guard dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is heading up the probe of the Sept. 3 incident at the construction site near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

In an incident on Sunday, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says about 200 people confronted about 30 security guards at a construction site. The sheriff says all but three security guards left the construction site. The sheriff says law enforcement officers witnessed one of the security guards being carried by protesters for about 100 yards. The guard was treated for minor injuries by paramedics. No arrests were made.

Picha did not return telephone calls Monday about the memo. The state Historical Society and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department declined to release the memo, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation by law enforcement.

The clash between security guards and protesters on Sept. 3 came one day after the tribe filed court papers saying it found burials, rock piles called cairns and other sites of historic significance to Native Americans along the pipeline’s path.

Tribal preservation officer Tim Mentz said in court documents that the tribe was only recently allowed to survey private land, which is now owned by the pipeline company.

Standing Rock Sioux tribal members could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

But Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II has said previously that construction crews removed topsoil across an area about 150 feet wide stretching for 2 miles.

“This demolition is devastating,” Archambault said. “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.”



Judge Won’t Immediately Stop Pipeline Construction

Construction on the Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured in July 2016 in Mountrail County, N.D. The Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota submitted this photo to state regulators with concerns about construction practices. Submited photo

Construction on the Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured in July 2016 in Mountrail County, N.D. The Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota submitted this photo to state regulators with concerns about construction practices. Submited photo

By Associated Press – 01/09/16

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An oil-rich American Indian tribe in North Dakota was handed a setback Thursday in its fight against a Texas company building oil and natural gas pipelines beneath a lake on its reservation.

The Three Affiliated Tribes ordered the project halted last month, saying Sacagawea Pipeline developer Paradigm Energy Partners needed tribal permission to place the pipelines beneath Lake Sakakawea, and that it made no assurances that water supplies wouldn’t be harmed.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland temporarily allowed construction to continue last week. On Thursday, the judge again refused to stop construction. He’s expected to rule within the next two weeks on whether the company should’ve gotten tribal permission and the project can move forward.

Hovland said the case revolves around a “multitude of complex issues,” and that there appears to be no existing precedence.

“It sounds like I’m going to be left to interpret this with no guidance from anybody,” Hovland said during daylong hearing.

The company said it has federal permission from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to run the pipelines beneath the lake along the Missouri River. The tribes argue that they own mineral interests beneath the river bed and their permission is needed to place a pipeline there, under a 1984 accord with the federal government.

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission approved construction of the $125 million, 70-mile-long oil pipeline project in January and it’s now complete, though it’s not moving crude at present. The company said the $16.6 million gas pipeline is about 45 days from completion.

Chris Doss, the Paradigm’s chief operating officer, said the company faces a Nov. 1 deadline to complete the gas pipeline due to an agreement with another landowner. He said delaying the project jeopardizes the project and the future of the company.

“We can’t afford any delays at all,” he said.

About 20 percent of the more than 1 million barrels of oil produced daily comes from the Fort Berthold Reservation, occupied by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. The tribes have a 12 percent stake in the oil pipeline but do not have a working interest in the gas pipeline.

Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox said the company was told several times “that they need to have full council approval or they will not be able to cross the lake.”

Tribal officials said the company offered the tribe up to $2 million in June to resolve certain issues, and while drilling already had started beneath the lake.

“They tried to get our consent, they didn’t get it and the bored anyway,” said John Fredericks, an attorney for the tribes. “As far as we’re concerned, they’re trespassing.”

Fox said it wanted the company to, among other things, assure to the more than 12,500 tribal members on the reservation that the pipelines are safe.

Paradigm Chief Executive Officer Troy Andrews said the money was offered to resolve right-of-way and other issues, even though the company believes it already has the necessary permits for the project.

“We still would like to get a deal done,” Andrews said.

It’s the second pipeline project being challenged by American Indians in North Dakota. About 150 miles downstream on the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is protesting against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline that they say could disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for 8,000 tribal members and millions further downstream.

A federal judge will rule before Sept. 9 on whether construction can be halted on the pipeline, which will pass through both Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II attended the hearing in Bismarck.

“I’m here supporting the Three Affiliated Tribes and their water rights,” Archambault told The Associated Press. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Tribe Calls On Feds To Drop Appeal Blocking Use Of Bald Eagles For Ceremonial Purposes


Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – The Northern Arapaho Tribe is calling on the federal government to drop a legal appeal that’s blocking the tribe from killing bald eagles for religious purposes on the central Wyoming reservation it shares with another tribe.

The federal government in June appealed this spring’s decision by U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the religious rights of the Northern Arapaho by denying the tribe permission to kill bald eagles for its annual Sun Dance.

Fish and Wildlife Service officials had issued a permit to the Northern Arapaho Tribe in 2012 allowing tribal members to kill two bald eagles for the ceremony provided they could only be killed outside the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Northern Arapaho share the reservation with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, which has its own religious grounds for opposing the killing of eagles.

In his ruling this spring, Johnson sided with the Northern Arapaho and concluded it was wrong for the federal agency to specify that the permit excluded reservation lands.

Johnson ruled the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from burdening one American Indian tribe’s exercise of its religious rights to benefit another tribe. He ordered the agency to reconsider the Northern Arapaho application.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s appeal of Johnson’s ruling is pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and the agency has just over a month left to file a brief laying out its arguments.

Dean B. Goggles, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, wrote last week to U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asking him to drop the federal government’s appeal on religious grounds.

Goggles stated in his letter that the tribe filed its lawsuit in part in response to the federal government’s 2005 prosecution of Winslow Friday, a young tribal member who shot an eagle for use in the Sun Dance. Friday ultimately pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a fine in tribal court.

“The Tribe needs to protect any Arapaho who is legitimately taking an eagle for religious ceremonial purposes,” Goggles wrote.

“We are writing to ask that you withdraw your notice of appeal so that we may practice the traditions of our Tribe without fear of criminal prosecution,” Goggles wrote.

Ivy Allen, tribal liaison with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Lakewood, Colo., said Monday she couldn’t comment on the tribe’s request to drop the appeal because litigation is ongoing.

Former U.S. District Judge William Downes of Casper originally had dismissed the federal charges against Friday, ruling that it would have been pointless for him to apply for a permit to take an eagle on the reservation because the Fish and Wildlife Service wouldn’t have given it to him anyway.

“Although the government professes respect and accommodation of the religious practices of Native Americans, its own actions show callous indifference to such practices,” Downes wrote in 2006. The federal appeals court later reinstated the charges against Friday.

The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened species in 2007, following its reclassification in 1995 from endangered to threatened. However, the species has remained protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a stock of carcasses of eagles and other protected birds at a repository in Colorado. It will release feathers or other bird parts to members of federally recognized tribes who apply for them.

Northern Arapaho tribal members have said it’s unacceptable to them to use an eagle carcass from the federal repository for their Sun Dance.

Source: http://bit.ly/1Ny0Q1m via