Pope Francis Perpetuates A False Narrative About Dakota Access Pipeline
Pope Francis said American Indian tribes must be given “prior consent” before energy companies consider constructing pipelines on tribal land.
“[T]he right to prior and informed consent” should always prevail “when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the Earth,” Francis told a group of tribes Tuesday at a UN meeting.
The key issue is how the Western world reconciles stimulating economic activity while respecting American Indian culture, he told the group, which was meeting to discuss the world’s agricultural resources.
It is not clear if Francis was referring to the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline or one of the other pipeline projects currently being considered throughout the U.S.
Activists and media talking heads have for months perpetuated the belief that the so-called DAPL cuts trough Standing Rock Sioux’s tribal land — in fact, the line is no where near the tribe’s land.
The multi-state project’s southern route (the route currently under dispute) is located several miles north of the tribe’s ancestral land.
Opponents also believe the line tramples over ancient burial grounds and artifacts, even though reports show it was modified more than 141 times to satisfy those concerns.
Standing Rock has used a 100-year-old treaty — the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 — to bolster its claims to the land. The treaty was forged between the U.S. government and the American Indian chieftains in the Great Sioux Nation, not Standing Rock.
It has been violated numerous times throughout the years by miners hunting for gold in the Black Hills, and tribes searching for fertile hunting grounds. The constant violations make it difficult to determine original ownership of the land.
The tribe began urging protesters to leave the area after the Army Corps rejected the $3.8 billion project in December. But President Donald Trump’s decision to approve the pipeline in January led to increased activity at the campsite.
Standing Rock and the Cheyenne River are suing to prevent the pipeline’s construction.
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