Sioux tribe celebrates as US Government halts Dakota pipeline

A Māori lawyer says the Sioux tribe in North Dakota will decide whether their camp opposing an oil pipeline being built through a sacred site is still necessary or not. It follows a joint statement by the US government which called for a temporary stop to construction of the Dakota access pipeline.

Members of the Sioux tribe are celebrating a small moment of victory following the US government's call for a temporary stop to construction of the Dakota access pipeline.

Māori lawyer Kingi Snelgar told Te Kāea, “Once we realised that the administration wouldn't allow the army corp to construct on the land there was just total joy and a lot of singing and cheering and gratefulness.”

Today a US court judge denied a request from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to stop construction of the pipeline in North Dakota.  Snelgar says an hour after the judge’s decision 3 US federal agencies released their decision to halt construction.

“In the short term, it’s gonna be a more consideration of the consultation process and then following that it’s up to the tribe to decide whether the camp is still necessary or not.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the United States Army Corps of Engineers to block the operation of Corps permitting for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Tribe fears that construction of the pipeline, which runs within half a mile of its reservation in North and South Dakota, will destroy sites of cultural and historical significance. Kingi Snelgar believes the Obama administration had no choice but to intervene.

“My perspective on it is that certainly the presence of the people here in camp and the protector’s actions over the last since April really and recent events brought to attention the situation.”

Sioux tribal leaders say their battle to stop construction continues. But in the meantime, the US government says the case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be a nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes views on these types of infrastructure projects.