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Undeterred by Police Escalation, DAPL Opponents "Reclaim" New Frontline


Undeterred by Police Escalation, DAPL Opponents "Reclaim" New Frontline

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Undeterred by the escalating attacks on protesters by local law enforcement officials, the native movement to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has fired back with a new frontline camp, which they have reclaimed through eminent domain, and a new resolve to "stand and face the storm."


I wish someone would create a map of what's happening where.

It's an astute observation, though, that escalation of the charges is about draining resources as well as intimidation. Just shows that the pipeliners and local government don't learn very well.


How many times must they fight to stop the theft of their land? We talk about what's happening in Palestine..well it looks like this, only worse.
This just breaks my heart, if I was younger I would go, they need help. The whole of the environmental community should be going if they can. This has to stop, they are killing our planet and our land and water, air and hope.
This isn't a protest that we can keep having. Once lost, it's irreparable.
The only thing that will stop this is for several 100's of us to show up, prepared to stay.


These Native Americans should be called what they are: not only water protectors, but real freedom fighters for us all to have clean, unpolluted, pure water. Too bad there is not some way these sybarites and greedy plutocrats that want to make enormous profits off of the almost 4 billion $ DAPL could be forced to drink polluted water, like the Sioux and many others may have to if they have their way... for just 1 week!


As I understand it, they chose the badge of "Water Protectors," not protestors or fighters, in part because they are so stalwartly nonviolent. I honor their choice.


Keep fighting, people!

The argument that DAPL has the right of eminent domain to construct their "Black Snake" is a weak argument and the argument that the indigenous people have eminent domain over their native lands is much stronger. That's because what DAPL is constructing is a Private Good, not a Public Good, and the Water Protectors are protecting a Public Good.

If DAPL were constructing a highway, aquifer, or a canal, they would have a much stronger argument for employing eminent domain because those types of projects would benefit everyone, whether they paid for it or not. A oil pipeline, on the other hand, restricts its benefits only to the people who own it while placing most of the downside risk on the people who live there. Therefore, the pipeline is considered a Private Good, and therefore, they must not only own all of the property the pipeline passes through, if any landowner refuses to sell to them, they cannot be compelled to do so under eminent domain. In addition, the 5th Amendment requires Due Process and "just compensation" in all eminent domain cases, and the people of Standing Rock were offered neither.

The Water Protectors, on the other hand, are protecting two primary Public Goods. Their cultural heritage sites exist for the benefit of everyone and water provides an essential ingredient for all life to exist. Nobody is forced to pay to enjoy the benefits of these goods, therefore they fit the definition of a Public Good. Without "just compensation" to the public, these Public Goods should be protected from Private interests. Since neither of these Public Goods can be replaced once they are destroyed, the people of Standing Rock have the stronger eminent domain case.

Stay strong and don't back down! The longer you hold out, the more likely the Courts will see things your way. DAPL is trying to break you because they know they don't have a strong legal case against you. They're hoping that if the project is complete before you can get the SCOTUS to agree with you, then the argument will be moot because the damage will already be done.


If you're not a lawyer, you should become one. Then you can hit the plutocrats and their minions where it hurts!


There is a meeting today at the White House between First Nation tribal leaders, I think Standing Rock Sioux, and another, to discuss treaty rights. They are referencing 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.I am praying for this meeting with President Obama.
Donations for the Bail Fund and for winter tipis and tents that accommodate wood burning stoves are needed. Go to the website of Standing Rock Sioux and the FB pages of the individual camps: Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior Camp.
I was there for four days with my grown daughter and two friends. Only extra warm winter clothing is now being accepted. I am so grateful for the stalwart and prayerful courage of these water protectors. The National Lawyers Guild has filed FOIA requests with government agencies for information on the constant surveillance and harassment of low flying planes, most of the night, and mornings. They are "buzzing" the camps at level of 150 feet. The legal limit is 1000 feet.


Wonderful post. Thanks. I do think the indigenous people's power of eminent domain is a brilliant strategy and would make a terrific precedent if they can get the right court to agree.


While I appreciate your argument on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux's claim of eminent-domain rights to their new camp site, the only place where eminent domain has been granted to the pipeline builders is in Iowa, where land was taken from (I assume White) farmers. They are indeed challenging the process in court.


Thanks for the updates.


Good point. My wife who is Native American agrees with you. Mea culpa. We all honor their non-violent choice.


Btw, the text of the Treaty of 1868, establishing current reservation borders, is available at https://ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?page=transcript&doc=42&title=Transcript+of+Treaty+of+Fort+Laramie+%281868%29

The earlier treaty, of 1851, http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol2/treaties/sio0594.htm, appears to have been primarily settling disputes among the tribes, though it did include provisions, for instance, for all the tribes to grant safe passage on the Oregon Trail to the Army and settlers.


I think @BillGee was focusing on the difference between Private Good and Public Good and the legal strategy of the Indian Nations themselves using eminent domain (for example to set up a non-profit cultural center and park in the disputed areas that the pipeline wants to go through).
Regarding the use of eminent domain by the pipeline companies - you are correct in the narrow sense of the current construction. However I believe that the pipeline is planning to run through disputed lands over terrain that was previously seized by eminent domain back in the 50's and the issue has come up with other recent pipeline projects such as the Sandpiper Pipeline.
Overall, I understand that eminent domain law is very much in flux - especially with respect to tribal claims. There were some disastrous court cases at the ed of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century that basically gave the government (Federal and States) the right to take whatever they wanted from land the Indians were guaranteed in treaties (this was in cases when telegraph and phone lines were being installed). More recently courts have ruled that eminent domain cannot be used on tribal lands except in extremely limited circumstances - and even then - must have a Federal Court order to proceed. I am hoping that this is an area ripe for a new and important ruling.


I've really wanted to get a visual handle on this. Turns out Energy Transfer, the pipeline builders, have published state-by-state maps of the route, at http://www.energytransfer.com/documents/DAPL_States_Counties.pdf
ND is page 2.

Overlay on that (or compare the two) this Wikimedia map of the original treaty lands and their losses down to the brown areas still reserved to the named tribes. On the treaty-lands map, the county boundaries are shown, but very lightly.

The confrontations so far have been in Morton County. It appears to me that the pipeline route was carefully chosen to skirt tribal lands, which point up to where the pipeline is set to cross the Missouri River just barely inside Morton and then Emmons County.

I'm not sure where the new camp would be.


Thanks Barbara - those maps really help. Remember though that there were two Fort Laramie treaties (1851 and 1868). A Map of the Sioux lands in the 1851 treaty can be found at http://www.ndstudies.org/resources/IndianStudies/standingrock/1851treaty.html
While it's hard to see the detail needed - it looks like the Morton County area you described is right where there's a difference between the 1851 and the 1868 Treaties.


Wow, thank YOU, Dennis! I'd just gone up and edited my first post about the treaty to also give a link to the text of the 1851. But the map that was with that was not discernible. The map in your link looks to me to drop in also with the Morton-Emmons-Standing Rock intersection, the Missouri River being the common landmark.


Another resource on this topic I found interesting was a special that was on msnbc last year (see http://www.msnbc.com/interactives/geography-of-poverty/nw.html for that). I thought they did a pretty good job overall - especially on the despicable story of how Lake Oahu was created in the first place.


And just Which Bunch of Idiots allowed Corporations to begin using "Eminent Domain" proceedings to Steal the property of Private Citizens?

Oh, wait, I seem to recall that it's yet another Legacy from Antonin Scalia's warped interpretation of the Constitution...


water defenders!

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