Tribe Chairman responds to Obama's announcement to reroute pipeline

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier says he is glad President Obama is finally taking action to address one of the "most important environmental issues" in the U.S.A.

In an exclusive interview this week, Obama suggested the Dakota Access pipeline could be rerouted around sacred Native American lands.

“We’re monitoring this closely and I think as a general rule my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans and I think that right now the army corps are examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline. So we’re going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans.”

Frazier says although he is encouraged by Obama's statement, he wants to stress that "the only meaningful resolution to the members of the Cheyenne River Rioux Tribe is one that assures the protection of our Missouri River water supply." 

Frazier adds that it also does not guarantee any additional destruction of their sacred lands.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other tribes and supporters have spent months attempting to block construction of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipe. They believe the environmental threats it poses and the obligation to consult with the indigenous people have been ignored in the process. 

Thousands have also gathered on the shoreline of the Cantapeta Creek, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation where police have shot rubber bullets and used pepper spray on peaceful protestors who are referring to themselves as water protectors.

For a number of days, law enforcement vehicles have been stationed on a hill near the shoreline. Water protectors had requested that law enforcement move as the hill is recognized as a burial ground and sacred site by the Standing Rock Sioux.

Frazier states that he is yet to receive any communication from any federal agency about a proposed reroute or other resolution to this issue. 

"In the meantime, the State of North Dakota continues to violate my people’s human and constitutional rights as they stand as protectors of our water at the Oceti Sakowin camp.  Resolution of this issue is urgent.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe opposes any pipeline that threatens our Unci Maka, our Grandmother Earth. A movement is growing across the world, encouraged by the bravery and dedication of the water protectors, to place the needs of the many above the profit of a few. I remain grateful to the water protectors who have stood up so powerfully. I strongly believe that this movement has been a wake-up call to the world that we, the protectors of the waters and the earth, will not be silenced."