President Obama reminded everyone what a real leader looks like again, when his administration announced they’d be putting a temporary end to construction on the very controversial Dakota Access pipeline, effective immediately.
A statement by the DOJ regarding the action read in-part as follows:
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
The statement also included a reaffirmation of the Obama administrations support for Native American tribes, with a declaration that they will be taking steps to work directly with our native people to strengthen their control over their own sovereign tribal land.
This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
The DOJ also included a statement of praise for Native American activists, who have been recently joined by others, in exercising their rights in protesting and speaking out against what they felt was a desecration of their sacred lands and violation of the spirit of the treaties they have with our government.
In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest
Corporate interests have been practically invading the native lands in the area, attacking peaceful protesters with a private army which includes attack dogs. They’ve also been damaging sacred sites in the process. This ignited the ire of not only many native tribes, but a substantial amount of regular citizens that have gone to help them resist the annexation of their land and violating of their rights. Now, their efforts are paying off.
The Crow Nation adopted President Obama into their tribe in 2008, when they gave him the native name “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.” Their wisdom nearly a decade ago has been proven correct.