I wanted this to be a day of no tears. Just one day. Didn’t happen.
Sacred places containing ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were destroyed on Saturday September 3 by Energy Transfer Partners, Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said.
On Friday, the Tribe filed court documents identifying the area as home to significant Native artifacts and sacred sites.
“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.”
Construction crews removed topsoil across an area about 150 feet wide stretching for two miles, northwest of the confluence of the Cannon Ball and Missouri Rivers.
“I surveyed this land, and we confirmed multiple graves and specific prayer sites,” said Tim Mentz, the Standing Rock Sioux’s former tribal historic preservation officer. “Portions, and possibly complete sites, have been taken out entirely.”
“We’re days away from getting a resolution on the legal issues, and they came in on a holiday weekend and destroyed the site,” said Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “What they have done is absolutely outrageous.”
This interview was recorded on September 3, 2016. Former Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Tim Mentz explains the destruction of burial grounds and sacred sites by Dakota Access Pipeline LLC. This sacred site is what people were trying to protect when Energy Transfer Partners brought in aggressive dogs to attack unarmed people.
“This demolition is devastating,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II. “These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”