Dakota Access Pipeline Construction Halted for Second Day, Protest Camps Expand

Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, ND – On Tuesday, August 17th, protesters gathered at the entrance to the construction site to begin their daily prayers.

Despite workers and police not showing up to the construction site, hundreds of people gathered at the entrance; they prayed and sang throughout the day.

With no police in sight, tribal members worked to keep traffic flowing past the entrance to the construction site. Each end featured people in yellow vests guiding traffic through a gauntlet of parked vehicles and people walking across the roadway. Traffic was kept open on North Dakota Highway 1806 throughout the day without incident.

More tribes joined the protests and flags were added to those already attached on the fences. Unicorn Riot was told that each flag represented a tribe that stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Nation, in defense of the water.

We were able to speak to Dana Yellow Fat, a Standing Rock Councilman, who was arrested when he joined the protests. His name is mentioned in the lawsuit Dakota Access LLC leveled against demonstrators for impeding work.

Despite a recent temporary restraining order granted by a federal judge against anyone stopping work on the construction site, a new camp called the Red Warrior Camp has been erected.

The camp quickly expanded, and is now home to hundreds more Indigenous warriors, prepared to defend the land and water at any moment. The multiple camps have already taken part in a series of non-violent trainings and direct actions to defend the Missouri River and surrounding communities from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline protests are unfolding against a backdrop of economic calamity, as Bakken oilfield activity has plummeted due to a global price collapse, which also has spurred a huge wave of lawsuits within the industry; Winona LaDuke compares Enbridge, a new investor in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and collapsing oil company activity to the infamous Enron implosion in a new analysis. She notes that oil companies have been installing defective parts in pipelines while trying to cut costs, a major reason that more pipeline failures are expected in the near future.

Also, the Bismarck Tribune reported that Fort Lincoln State Park, north of the protest area, has been used as a command site by state authorities. That park commemorates the fort where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer departed from, heading to his ultimate defeat by Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors in 1876.

For more information and context, we have followed this struggle since April 1st, 2016.

In April, a caravan of over 200 supporters, led by forty riders on horse, left Fort Yates for a thirty mile trek to the camp located just north of Cannonball.

For our coverage this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, with many photos and videos, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.

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