NEAR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, N.D. -- Native American tribes – including those in Washington State – are condemning a federal judge’s ruling in a dispute over a massive oil pipeline project.
“They’re trying to desecrate our sacred land,” said Willie Frank III of the Nisqually Tribe in Thurston County.
Frank, and other members of Washington tribes, traveled to Cannon Ball North Dakota last week to join the protests on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Standing Rock Tribe said it received little notice from the US Army Corps of Engineers this summer about permits that were requested by a company building an 1100 mile pipeline from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to link up with an existing pipeline in Illinois.
The tribe says that the project has already disturbed ancestral land and sacred burial sites in North Dakota.
Protestors from all over the country have arrived in Cannon Ball and have chained themselves to heavy equipment and blocked access to the job site.
On Friday, a judge denied motions by Standing Rock to halt the project. He said the Corps of Engineers followed the proper permitting procedure.
Frank said he does not expect any violence in North Dakota.
“I don’t think they want anything to end up being violent. This has to be peaceful. I think you go back to the drawing board and you figure out the next step for the Standing Rock people,” Frank said.
In a late development Friday, the Corps of Engineers said it asked the pipeline company to voluntarily halt the project as it reconsiders some of the permitting process.
Copyright 2016 KING