Feds Seek Infrastructure Input.

Lucas Reynolds.

Lucas Reynolds.

Two weeks after a joint announcement by the Departments of Justice, of the Army, and of the Interior called for the halt of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota, the three agencies invited representatives from all 567 federally recognized tribes to participate in government-to-government consultations on infrastructure decision making.

The agencies sent a letter to tribal offices, informing of their intent to seek tribal input on two questions specifically:

— How can federal agencies better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions, to protect tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights within the existing statutory framework?

— Should the federal agencies propose new legislation altering the statutory framework to promote these goals?

The plan for the initial consultation sessions was announced September 9 when the agencies called for the immediate, yet temporary halting of construction following federal judge James Boasberg’s denial of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction of the DAPL.

The consultation meetings are set to begin with a listening session on October 11, followed by formal tribal consultations scheduled in six regions of the country from October 25 through November 21. A deadline of November 30 has been set for written input.

In the letter to all federally recognized tribes, the agencies highlight the aggressiveness of the schedule for the sessions, but note that the reasoning is due to the subject matter and urgency of the issues.

The letter closes by stating, “We understand that tribal nations’ voices must be heard, in a timely and meaningful way, with regard to Federal decisions that could affect their treaties, homelands, environment, cultural, properties and sacred [places]. We look forward to your input as to how our agencies, and the Federal Government as a whole, can improve Federal decision-making processes that affect tribal lands and resources, and treaty rights to ensure that those decisions are fully consistent with our obligations to tribal nations.”

Following the agencies announcement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II released the following statement: “The Obama Administration’s call for national reform on this issue is a historic moment. We welcome the Administration’s invitation to all tribes to consult on the process for decision-making on infrastructure projects. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are fighting for our lives, our people and our sacred places because of a failed process for approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not hold meaningful consultation with our tribe before approving construction of this pipeline. They did not conduct a survey of cultural resources. They have not conducted a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

“We have already seen the damage caused by a lack of consultation. The ancient burial sites where our Lakota and Dakota ancestors were laid to rest have been destroyed. The desecration of family graves is something that most people could never imagine.

“The Army Corps must conduct a full EIS. Our water, our resources and our lives are at risk because of this pipeline. Our sacred places that we have lost can never be replaced. The Army Corps and all federal agencies have a responsibility to our tribe, and all tribes, to honor the treaties. This invitation is a good start but the government has a lot more to do to permanently protect the millions of people who rely on the Missouri River for water and who are put at serious risk because of this pipeline. They can start by stopping construction until the EIS is complete.



  1. rq says

    This sounds like a good step. Is it a good step? Will it come too late for Standing Rock? And for fucks’ sake can they please make it work this time (and yeah, when I say ‘they’ I’m looking at the Government here, since I’m pretty sure the other parties involved have been waiting to be involved for generations already and are probably more prepared for this than the Government expects).

  2. says

    Its funny how “eminent domain” only serves capitalists not the other way around. Why can’t the indigenous people “eminent domain” back lands they had, which were theirs by treaty, then stolen? Because fuck you, that’s why.

  3. says

    I can’t really say if it’s a good step right now. It’s something. The rush put on it is not a good sign as far as the pipeline is concerned, and this serves to split attention handily. The tribal leaders cannot ignore this though. I know Chairman Archambault won’t lose sight of what’s important, but he has to be stressed beyond belief right now.


    Because fuck you, that’s why.

    Pretty much. There are around 5 million natives in uStates, we don’t have the power to pull an eminent domain, the genocide saw to that.

  4. rq says

    I know Chairman Archambault won’t lose sight of what’s important, but he has to be stressed beyond belief right now.

    That guy is a hero. He’s been at the forefront of this, handling all kinds of shit from all kinds of directions, it’s amazing. I’m pretty sure he already does, but I sincerely hope he has a good support group behind him that lets him take a break every now and then, because wow.

  5. rq says

    … And since his support group has probably also been putting in the hours, they all deserve to be acknowledged and thanked, as well. They’ve all been amazing -- everyone propping up this fight.

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