Washington, D.C. – After the decision by a federal judge on Friday to not issue an injunction protecting Native lands threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Obama Administration issued a statement halting pipeline construction that is welcomed by the thousands of Native and non-Native activists who have gathered in protest against the project.
The joint statement today by the Departments of the Army, Justice and Interior halts construction in the area around Lake Oahe in North Dakota while the concerns raised by tribal leaders are properly reviewed. Earlier in the day, the ruling of the District Court would have allowed construction to continue despite the threat to sacred sites and the drinking water of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
“The joint statement by the DOJ and other agencies makes it clear that the process used to approve this pipeline’s construction was insufficient and did not fully take into account the environmental impact or the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native peoples,” said Judith LeBlanc, director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma.
“Tribes from across Indian Country have drawn the line here with the largest show of unity and grassroots power in our history,” said LeBlanc.
“The fight isn’t over. American Indians will continue to lead this movement to save Mother Earth because our ancestors are depending on us to protect the water and land for our people, and for humanity” said LeBlanc. “We cannot and should not allow our culture, our land, and Mother Earth to be put at risk for private gain.”
LeeAnn Hall, co-executive director of People’s Action Institute, a partner with the Native Organizers Alliance, said the decision to stop construction never would have happened without the enormous courage of Native people and supporters from around the country who stood with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to defend sacred lands and the water we all depend on.
“This Native-led movement proves the power of people, and the power of peaceful direct action,” Hall said. “It was the people who won this important moment.”
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Native Organizers Alliance, a project of People’s Action Institute, is dedicated to building the organizing capacity of Native organizers and groups building grassroots power for change among native peoples across the continent.
People’s Action Institute is a national organization fighting for democracy and economic fairness, with more than a million volunteers in 29 states. From family farms to big cities, from coast to coast, we push for community over greed, justice over racism, and people and planet over big corporations.