Port: North Dakota tribal chairman blocks #NoDAPL protesters
"Mandah, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Chairman Mark Fox blocked entry to Lakota women and children on the No DAPL Walk arriving from Standing Rock," veteran Indian Country reporter Brenda Norrell reported on her blog. "Chairman Fox positioned tribal police in a roadblock at the entrance to the tribal compound today, Thursday afternoon, as Lakota women and children arrived on a solidarity walk."
MINOT, N.D. — At the national level a big decision about the Dakota Access Pipeline has been looming.
The federal courts have ordered an environmental review of DAPL, ruling that the Barack Obama -era U.S. Army Corps of Engineers erred in not requiring one, and there has been a fight over whether the pipeline should continue to operate while that review takes place.
The Standing Rock Sioux , plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the pipeline's permitting, argue that it should shut down.
The Donald Trump -era Corps argued that it shouldn't.
Now President Joe Biden's administration has decided, after requesting more time from the courts, to not do much of anything to change the status quo . For now, the pipeline will continue to operate, and it's likely, given the fraught politics around this situation, the decision will be made by a judge and not the Biden administration.
What a copout from Biden's people, am I right?
In that context comes renewed protests over the pipeline, though, thankfully, the demonstrations, so far, haven't been violent like those which took place in 2016 and 2017 toward the end of the pipeline's construction.
One form the protests have taken is so-called solidarity walks and runs , but a recent walk organized for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, one of the nation's top oil-producing tribes, wasn't well received.
"Mandah, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Chairman Mark Fox blocked entry to Lakota women and children on the No DAPL Walk arriving from Standing Rock," veteran Indian Country reporter Brenda Norrell reported on her blog . "Chairman Fox positioned tribal police in a roadblock at the entrance to the tribal compound today, Thursday afternoon, as Lakota women and children arrived on a solidarity walk."
According to Norrell, Fox told the activists that oil and gas drilling, as well as fracking, will continue on MHA Nation lands and that President Joe Biden's order halting oil and gas activities didn't apply.
"They of course are going to say their perceptions of it, but we have controlled since the pandemic began how many people can come in," Fox told me when I spoke with him about the incident. He said the protesters were told they were "more than welcome to do your protest on the other side of the parking lot, but not welcome to come in because it would violate [COVID-19] protocols."
But Fox made it clear that both he and his tribe support oil and gas development. "I think the protesters wanted to bring their issues northward to Fort Berthold because they think we're playing a role somehow in how DAPL will be impacted. "Our nation, as a tribe, as a majority of our members, as a majority of our council, want to continue on with energy development. That's what I have to advocate."
Fox says he understands and respects the position the anti-pipeline protesters are taking but wanted them to respect his tribe's position as well. "We are carrying out the desires of our tribal nation to develop oil and gas resources."
Last month Fox sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting "nation to nation" communications before any decisions are reached about its fate.
"MHA Nation's interests as an oil and gas producing Tribe are unique among other Tribes in our region," the March 23 letter reads. "We insist on a one-on-one consultation before any action is taken that would adversely impact the market value of our oil and gas resources which are held in trust on our behalf by the United States. At a minimum, our trustee owes the MHA Nation meaningful consultation that is specific and pre-decisional."
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com .