North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has activated the National Guard ahead of today’s ruling on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against the U.S. government over the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is set to rule today on an injunction in a lawsuit challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to issue permits for the pipeline, arguing it violates the National Historic Preservation Act. This comes as over 1,000 people representing more than 100 Native American tribes are gathered along the Cannonball River by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to resist the pipeline’s construction. It’s been described as the largest unification of Native American tribes in decades. We go to North Dakota for an update from Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show in North Dakota, where Governor Jack Dalrymple has activated the National Guard ahead of today’s ruling on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against the U.S. government over the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Dalrymple said the National Guard will be deployed to a checkpoint along Highway 1806. As many as 100 additional guardsmen from the 191st Military Police Company will be on standby and could be deployed at any moment. The governor made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday.
GOV. JACK DALRYMPLE: Because of the increased and prolonged need for law enforcement resources, I have asked General Dohrmann to make available some North Dakota National Guard personnel to support law enforcement and augment their public safety efforts.
AMY GOODMAN: U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is set to rule today on an injunction in a lawsuit challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to issue permits for the pipeline, arguing it violates the National Historic Preservation Act.
This comes as over a thousand people representing more than 100 to 200 Native American tribes are gathered along the Cannonball River by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to resist the pipeline’s construction. It’s been described as the largest unification of Native American tribes in decades. This past weekend, the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the construction of the pipeline on a sacred tribal burial site.
WATER PROTECTOR 1: This guy maced me in the face. Look, it’s all over my sunglasses. Just maced me in the face.
WATER PROTECTOR 2: These people are just threatening all of us with these dogs. And she, that woman over there, she was charging, and it bit somebody right in the face.
AMY GOODMAN: The dog has blood in its nose and its mouth.
WATER PROTECTOR 2: And she’s still standing here threatening us.
AMY GOODMAN: Why are you letting their—her dog go after the protesters? It’s covered in blood!
VICTOR PUERTAS: Over there, with that dog. I was like walking. Throwed the dog on me and straight, even without any warning. You know? Look at this. Look at this.
AMY GOODMAN: That dog bit you?
VICTOR PUERTAS: Yeah, the dog did it, you know? Look at this. It’s there. It’s all bleeding.
AMY GOODMAN: To see our live report on the ground in North Dakota, go to democracynow.org.
For more, we go directly to North Dakota for an update from Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth. She’s Ojibwe from the Couchiching First Nation.
Tara, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain what’s happening on the ground, with the governor calling out the National Guard today?
TARA HOUSKA: The sense on the ground is one of kind of—you know, we know that this is happening. We know that the governor has called in the National Guard, that they are waiting for this court decision just like we are. I think that, you know, we are still very hopeful and resilient. And, you know, just last night there was a concert with True Pride Music, Nahko Bear and Immortal Technique, and, you know, hundreds and hundreds of tribal youth turned out for that. We’re still here. We’re still fighting. And at the same time, while this National Guard announcement was made, you know, we also saw that Bernie Sanders put out an amendment to, you know, stop this pipeline from happening by calling for an environmental impact statement. He has chosen to throw in and show his support for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and indigenous people generally.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Tara, the protests have gotten much more attention this week than they did earlier in the week—big stories on the CBS Evening News and other national news networks. The New York Times has a front-page story today about how the Army Corps of Engineers basically removed hundreds of members of the Standing Rock Nation when they built the dam in that area. Your sense of how the attention now is focused in terms of possibly winning your fight?
TARA HOUSKA: This is a historic moment for indigenous people. They have come from all over the country to stand here with the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and to say, “No more. Enough is enough.” So, to see this moment, I think that people are aware that indigenous people are still here. They’re aware that we have treaty rights, that we are no longer accepting any type of environmental injustice of a pipeline being sent through drinking water. You know, this is a moment in which we are standing up together.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Tara. You mentioned Bernie Sanders. What about presidential candidate Jill Stein, the Green presidential candidate, along with her running mate, Ajamu Baraka? They were—the county sheriff just issued misdemeanor charges against them, the pictures showing, and video, Jill Stein spray-painting on a bulldozer “I approve this message,” you know, like a presidential candidate says on a commercial. So you have the county sheriff issuing charges against the presidential and vice-presidential candidate of the Green Party. But what about the—not clear who this security was on the ground on Saturday, who unleashed dogs who bit Native Americans, who had come to honor their tribal burial ground. Have there been any charges issued against any of these attackers?
TARA HOUSKA: I haven’t seen any charges issued against the attackers, as the North Dakota state—North Dakota police were actually standing there and not doing anything while these horrible attacks were occurring. This was, you know, deadly force, excessive force, used against people that were there to protect our sacred sites, to protect instead a easement for a pipeline. And nothing has been filed against them. You know, we’ve seen the sheriff painting Native—continuing to paint Native Americans as violent, as dangerous, as, you know, needing excessive police force and all of these different—you know, all these different aspects that are brought out essentially to silence our voices. And that doesn’t seem to be working very well for them.
AMY GOODMAN: Tara Houska, we want to thank you for being with us. We’ll continue to follow this. National campaigns director for Honor the Earth. When we come back from break, who is profiting from this pipeline? We’ll look at the banks and the oil companies. Stay with us.