The Standing Rock Sioux tribe will continue their fight against religious discrimination after an executive order was signed on Jan. 24 by President Trump.
The Dakota Access Pipeline threatens to run beneath Lake Oahe, the source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Reservation, according to Observer. Sioux supporters believe this is not only an environmental issue but one that violates religious rights.
Life-giving water and burial grounds are held as religious sites by Native Americans, according to EcoWatch. Desecration of burial grounds is a possibility if pipeline construction continues.
“They’ve received enough harmful treatment on the part of the American government over time that they should be able to claim it is as sacred land, and we need to adjust where that pipeline goes, or … if we should do a pipeline at all,” said Nathan Meeker, a former faculty adviser of the Native American Cultural Association.
Hopes were high on Dec. 4 after the Army Corps of Engineers denied easement to the building company, Energy Transfer Partners, according to the Washington Post.
The Tribal Council is now seeking to pursue a win through a legal, not physical, process, asking all protesters to clear their encampments by Jan. 30, according to MPR News.
Protests have been on-going over the last two years, spiking in aggression and violence during the second half of 2016, according to the Huffington Post. Many suffered injuries from water cannons, rubber bullets and pepper spray during the frigid winter months.