Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Brings Pipeline Opposition to Meeting With President Obama

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Vehicle lights, streaked by a long, late evening exposure, cuts through the campsite set up to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on October 8, 2016. (Photo: Kristina Barker / The New York Times)

The stand-off between the Standing Rock Sioux and the Dakota Access pipeline shows no sign of letting up. Indigenous opponents of the four-state, nearly $4 billion dollar pipeline have set up another encampment.

Members of the Great Sioux Nation say they are invoking eminent domain over land rightfully theirs under an 1851 treaty; and have situated their Winter Camp directly in the path of the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners, developers of the massive pipeline that would run beneath the Missouri River, says the land belongs to the company after they recently purchased the tract from a farmer.

According to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, six states have deployed law enforcement officers to the area. Tuesday night in a Facebook post, the department said private security hired by Energy Transfer Partners who unleashed attack dogs and pepper spray on protesters in early September were not licensed and could face prosecution.

Hundreds of people have been arrested during months of protest; most on minor trespass charges. Yet many have been subjected to strip searches and jailed.

FSRN’s Nell Abram spoke with Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier, who met with President Barack Obama Tuesday to discuss the pipeline project, and the militarized police response to the protests.

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Nell Abram: Chairman Frazier, thanks for joining us on FSRN. You spoke with President Obama and asked him to him protect the rights of the Lakota people, their sacred sites and the waters of the Missouri River. How did your conversation go?

Harold Frazier: You know, I was a little hopeful, but I guess I kind of got what I expected. There’s court cases proceeding. One of the things they assured me is that he is going to follow, continue the…

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