Standing Rock Indian Reservation
|Standing Rock Indian Reservation|
Standing Rock Indian Reservation straddles the border between North and South Dakota
|North Dakota Counties||Sioux County
|South Dakota Counties||Corson County
|• Land||3,571.9 sq mi (9,251.2 km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||CST (UTC-4)|
The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is a Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Indian reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States. The sixth-largest reservation in land area in the United States, Standing Rock includes all of Sioux County, North Dakota, and all of Corson County, South Dakota, plus slivers of northern Dewey and Ziebach Counties in South Dakota, along their northern county lines at Highway 20.
The reservation has a land area of 9,251.2 square kilometers (3,571.9 sq mi) and a population of 8,250 as of the 2000 census. The largest communities on the reservation are Fort Yates, Cannon Ball and McLaughlin. Other communities within the reservation include: Wakpala, Little Eagle, Bullhead, Porcupine, Kenel, McIntosh, Morristown, Selfridge, Solen.
Together with the Hunkpapa and Blackfeet bands, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is part of the Great Sioux Nation. In 1868 the lands of the Great Sioux Nation were reduced in the Fort Laramie Treaty to the east side of the Missouri River and the state line of South Dakota in the west. The Black Hills, considered by the Sioux to be sacred land, are located in the center of territory awarded to the tribe. In direct violation of the treaty, in 1874 General George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry entered the Black Hills and discovered gold, starting a gold rush. The United States Government wanted to buy or rent the Black Hills from the Lakota people, but the Great Sioux Nation, led by their spiritual leader Sitting Bull, refused to sell or rent their lands. The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred between 1876 and 1877 between the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne and the government of the United States. Among the many battles and skirmishes of the war was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, often known as Custer's Last Stand, the most storied of the many encounters between the U.S. army and mounted Plains Indians. That Indian victory notwithstanding, the U.S. with its superior resources was soon able to force the Indians to surrender, primarily by attacking and destroying their encampments and property. The Agreement of 1877 (19 Stat. 254, enacted February 28, 1877) officially annexed Sioux land and permanently established Indian reservations. The Agreement of 1877 allotted Indian lands into 160 acre lots to individuals to divide the nation and the U.S. government took the Black Hills from the Sioux Nation.
In February 1890, the United States government broke a Lakota treaty by adjusting the Great Sioux Reservation, an area that formerly encompassed the majority of the state, and breaking it up into five smaller reservations. The government was accommodating white homesteaders from the eastern United States; in addition, it intended to "break up tribal relationships" and "conform Indians to the white man's ways, peaceably if they will, or forcibly if they must". On the reduced reservations, the government allocated family units on 320-acre (1.3 km2) plots for individual households. Although the Lakota were historically a nomadic people living in tipis and their Plains Indian culture was based strongly upon buffalo and horse culture, they were expected to farm and raise livestock. With the goal of assimilation, they were forced to send their children to boarding schools; the schools taught English and Christianity, as well as American cultural practices. Generally, they forbade inclusion of Indian traditional culture and language.
The farming plan failed to take into account the difficulty that Lakota farmers would have in trying to cultivate crops in the semi-arid region of South Dakota. By the end of the 1890 growing season, a time of intense heat and low rainfall, it was clear that the land was unable to produce substantial agricultural yields and, with the bison having been virtually eradicated a few years earlier, the Lakota were at risk of starvation. The people turned to the Ghost Dance ritual, which frightened the supervising agents of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Agent James McLaughlin asked for more troops. He claimed that spiritual leader Sitting Bull was the real leader of the movement. A former agent, Valentine McGillycuddy, saw nothing extraordinary in the dances and ridiculed the panic that seemed to have overcome the agencies, saying: "The coming of the troops has frightened the Indians. If the Seventh-Day Adventists prepare the ascension robes for the Second Coming of the Savior, the United States Army is not put in motion to prevent them. Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come."
Nonetheless, thousands of additional U.S. Army troops were deployed to the reservation. On December 15, 1890, Sitting Bull was arrested for failing to stop his people from practicing the Ghost Dance. During the incident, one of Sitting Bull's men, Catch the Bear, fired at Lieutenant "Bull Head", striking his right side. He instantly wheeled and shot Sitting Bull, hitting him in the left side, and both men subsequently died.
The Hunkpapa who lived in Sitting Bull's camp and relatives fled to the south. They joined the Big Foot Band in Cherry Creek, South Dakota then traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation to meet with Chief Red Cloud. The 7th Cavalry caught them at a place called Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890. The 7th Cavalry, whilst attempting to disarm the Lakota people, killed 300 people including women and children at Wounded Knee.
Governance and districts
According to its constitution, Standing Rock's governing body is the elected 17-member Tribal Council, including the Tribal Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and 14 representatives: six at-large and eight from its regional districts:
- Fort Yates (Long Soldier)
- Running Antelope (Little Eagle)
- Bear Soldier (McLaughlin)
- Rock Creek (Bullhead)
In 2014, President Barack Obama accompanied by Michelle Obama made his first visit to an Indian reservation during the annual Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration. It was one of the few visits by a sitting American President to an Indian reservation. His visit was met with mixed feelings by the reservation, with concerns that specifics on treaty issues and government appropriations were not addressed.
In the 1960s, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation built five large dams on the Missouri River, and implemented the Pick–Sloan Missouri Basin Program, forcing Native Americans to relocate from flooded areas. Over 200,000 acres on the Standing Rock Reservation and the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota were flooded by the Oahe Dam alone. As of 2015, poverty remains a problem for the displaced populations in the Dakotas, who are still seeking compensation for the loss of the towns submerged under Lake Oahe, and the loss of their traditional ways of life.
Mascot issue with University of North Dakota
The athletic teams of the University of North Dakota (UND) were known as the Fighting Sioux. Controversy surrounding the use of Native American mascots prompted the NCAA to ban the use of "hostile and abusive" Native American mascots in August 2005. An exception was made to allow the use of tribal names if they are approved by that tribe. Since the Tribal Council of the Standing Rock Sioux has not approved UND's use of "Fighting Sioux", the ban applied to UND. After years with no mascot, UND became the Fighting Hawks in 2015.
Dakota Access Pipeline
In the summer of 2016, a group of young activists from Standing Rock ran from North Dakota to Washington, D.C., to present a petition in protest of the construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline, which is part of the Bakken pipeline, and have launched an international campaign called ReZpect our Water. The pipeline which goes from North Dakota to Illinois, the activists argue, would jeopardize the water source of the reservation, the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed an injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop building the pipeline. In April 2016, three federal agencies -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Interior, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation—requested full Environmental Impact Statement of the pipeline. In August 2016, protests were held near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Peaceful protests at pipeline site continued and drew indigenous people from throughout North America as well as other supporters. A number of planned arrests occurred when people locked themselves to heavy machinery. On September 3, 2016, the Dakota Access Pipeline brought in a private security firm. The company used bulldozers to dig up part of the pipeline route that subject to a pending injunction motion; it contained possible Native graves and burial artifacts. The bulldozers arrived within a day from when the tribe filed legal action. When unarmed protesters moved near the bulldozers, the guards used pepper spray and guard dogs to protect the site they were told to guard. At least six protesters were treated for dog bites and an estimated 30 protesters were pepper sprayed before the security guards and their dogs exited the scene in trucks.
The pipeline construction company claimed they hired the security company because the protests have not been peaceful. The Morton County Sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier, described the September 3, 2016 protest saying protesters crossed onto private property and attacked security guards with "wooden posts and flag poles." He said, "Any suggestion that today's event was a peaceful protest, is false." The sheriff told reporters that he had heard rumors of pipe bombs, but according to Bill McKibben, founder of a group connected to the protests, "it turned out he’d heard rumors about ceremonial peace pipes".
The Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe in North Dakota established the Standing Stone Camp, uniting a coalition of at least 200 other Native American tribes, environmentalists and other activists. Protests at the pipeline site in North Dakota began in the summer of 2016 and drew indigenous people from throughout North America as well as other supporters, creating the largest gathering of Native Tribes in the past 100 years of American History. A number of planned arrests occurred when people locked themselves to heavy machinery in civil disobedience. Fire has also been thrown at mass social media website Facebook for assisting the local authorities in censoring the protestors.
Shortly after being confronted at a televised town hall meeting with Laotian University Students on September 7, 2016, President Barack Obama gave the order to halt the construction of the pipeline until further environmental assessments have taken place.
Dakota Access agreed to halt construction in parts of North Dakota until September 9 to help "keep the peace." When a federal judge denied the injunction sought by the tribe on the 9th, the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice and the Department of the Army ( which oversees the Corps of Engineers, stepped in halting construction of the pipeline around Lake Oahe 20 miles either side of the Lake, but not halting the project altogether.
A Colonial Pipeline Leak believed to have began sometime on September 12, 2016 in Alabama, spilled an estimated amount of 350,000 gallons of gasoline, further fueling the criticism of the Dakota Access Pipeline from The Standing Rock Tribe.
As of late September 2016, major U.S. broadcast news outlets have given scant attention to the Standing Rock protests, even after video was aired on Democracy Now! showing Dakota Access guard dogs with bloody mouths after attacking protesters. Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman filmed the incident, which she published in support of the Native American opposition to the pipeline. Following the publishing of her video, North Dakota Police issued an arrest warrant under accusations of Criminal Trespass. Goodman responded "This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press..." There had also been no comments made by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein protested on site, including spray painting equipment that resulted in an arrest warrant for her and running mate Baraka. Defeated Democratic Presidential Candidate nominee Bernie Sanders spoke out against the oppression of Native American People, as well as the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On September 23, 2016, two days after Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II addressed the United Nations Standing Rock received news that the property being occupied to stage their protests had been purchased by the Energy Transfer Partners, from David and Brenda Meyer of Flasher, ND, in an assumed attempt to deter further protests that may continue to hinder the construction of the pipeline. The Sioux Nation claims that David and Brenda Meyer permitted their land to be used for staging.
Al Jazeera America's Malika Bilal hosted a discussion on The Stream.[when?] Parties of the discussion included Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II, Laborers' International Union of North America Representative Kevin Pranis, Bismarck Tribune reporter Lauren Donovan, Native American Activist Winona LaDuke, and Indian Country Today Media Network journalist Simon Moya Smith. Pranis described the necessity of the pipeline as "Critical," for the current mode of transporting from the Bakken region has been through rail, claiming that the pipeline is a safer and more environmental alternative, backing a statement from Energy Transfer Partners "Underground Pipelines are the safest mode of transporting crude oil..."  LaDuke challenged Pranis' statement claiming "The pipelines (being buried) are trying to put it (the oil) out of sight and out of mind." Smith claimed that the pipeline crosses territory of the Fort Laramie Treaty. Pranis challenged Smith claiming that Standing Rock did not participate in any public hearings during the planning stages of the pipeline, and criticized protestors for driving to Standing Rock in their gasoline powered vehicles. Archambault challenged Pranis by claiming his people received no notification or invitation to the public hearings from the State of North Dakota, nor Energy Transfer Partners. Donovan was asked to respond to Archambault's statement of "untruthful media" in which she did so by saying "We don't always get the story straight. We should do our best, and would be open to any conversation with him (Archambault) about it." Archambault replied "No matter what is said or presented to the media, there's always a twist to it. The media tries to grab attention, rather than trying to display that facts." LaDuke claimed the Enbridge Company which bought into the Dakota Access Pipeline already has 800 spills. Simon had an arguing point that when oil spills and fracking leaks occur, the oil companies refuse to release the chemicals and toxins to the medical community to treat affected individuals. He also claimed that Native Americans are more likely to be killed by police than any other demographic, and that Natives were nearly extinct "in the name of progress." After all of the criticism toward Pranis, the conversation was ended abruptly, for Pranis' laptop battery exhausted its power.
Protest in popular culture
In August and September 2016, protests have taken place in several parts of the country, including Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle, Washington D.C., and some international demonstrations have also taken place.
The Episcopal Church (United States) took a stance in support of the protests, after their presiding bishop Michael Curry (bishop) released a statement "It's my hope that the federal government, working with the various (tribal) nations who are affected by the pipeline, and working with the company involved, can come to a reasonable resolution, one that honors the need for energy but that does so in ways that protect the environment that God has given all of us and that respects sacred burial grounds of the native, indigenous people that live there." Bishop Curry visited Standing Rock September 24–25, 2016 for further support of the united Native American tribal voices.
American celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Pharrell Williams, Jane O'Meara Sanders, Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Susan Sarandon, Riley Keough, and Shailene Woodley. have also voiced their support of Standing Rock's opposition to the pipeline.
Notable tribal members
- Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933–2005), activist and essayist
- Tiffany Midge, poet
- Susan Power (b. 1961), novelist
- Wayne Trottier, North Dakota state legislator
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- Taliman, Valerie (9 September 2016). "Moments After Judge Denies DAPL Injunction, Federal Agencies Intervene". Indian Country Today Media Network.com. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- Michael Leland, Iowa Public Radio (15 September 2016). "Bakken pipeline opposition presents petitions to U.S. Justice Department". Radio Iowa. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
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