Standing Rock Sioux Tribe the fight to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Government

The United States Government works on three levels: Federal, State and Tribal. The tribal reservations have a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The Great Sioux Nation signed treaties in 1851 and in 1868 with the United States which are binding documents that established our original boundaries and recognized our rights as a sovereign government.

The lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were reduced to a reservation by the Act of March 2, 1889. The Tribal government maintains jurisdiction on all reservation lands, including all rights-of-way, waterways, watercourses and streams running through any part of the reservation and to such others lands as may hereafter be added to the reservation under the law of the United States.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members are descendants of the Teton and Yankton Bands of the Lakota/Dakota Nations. The total land area of the Standing Rock is 2.3 million acres and of that 1,408,061 million is tribally owned. The land is an important part the Lakota/Dakota people’s lives.

Water is the key to increasing the quality of life and promoting full economic development on the Standing Rock Reservation. An adequate supply of good quality water is needed by many of the (8,278) Indians and (3,838) non-Indians living on the reservation. Problems with water quality and inadequate supply are common.

In 1996, tribal environmental staff identified illegal dumping sites as the major reservation environmental problem which may cause human health problems and which may be polluting soil or contaminating groundwater in the area of dumping sites.
The Dakota Access Pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, would extend 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it will link with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline since first learning about plans for the pipeline in 2014. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is less than a mile from the pipeline, have said they worry a spill under the nearby Missouri River would pollute water they rely on for fishing, drinking and religious ceremonies.

In a significant victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a federal judge ordered a sweeping new environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The ruling by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg found that the pipeline’s “effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial” and that the federal government had not done an adequate job of studying the risks of a major spill or whether the pipeline’s leak detection system was adequate.

Despite several victories, the fight to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues, and the issue has gained national attention.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was built on stolen land considered sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; it never should have been built in the first place. Take action and demand a full assessment of the pipeline's impacts.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has inspired intense protests and legal battles, and after all must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil. The decision, which could be subject to appeal, is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American and environmental groups who have fought the project for years


1. Peg Hunter; IMG_6441-1; November 15, 2016; (CC BY-NC 2.0). 2. Heather; Western North Dakota; June 23, 2013; (CC BY 2.0). 3. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Official Logo. 4. Standing Rock Reserve - Google maps. 5. Stephen Melkisethian; #NoDAPL Emergency Rally DC 16; February 8, 2017; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 6. J Troup; South Dakota landscape; April 24, 2013; (CC BY-NC 2.0). 7. Peg Hunter; IMG_6652-1; November 15, 2016; (CC BY-NC 2.0).