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Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads Native Nations Rise march in Washington






Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe addresses the media outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on October 5, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

With political and legal options running out, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is bringing the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the nation's capital.

The tribe and its allies are gathering in Washington, D.C., this week for Native Nations Rise. The event, which includes a symbolic camp at the Washington Monument starting on Tuesday, culminates with a march to the home of President Donald Trump on Friday.

“They want us to believe the fight is over – but we can still win this. We can unite in peaceful, prayerful resistance against this illegal pipeline,” Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a press release on Friday.

Archambault repeatedly sought a meeting with Trump after the Republican won the election last November. The goal was to inform the new administration of the tribe's well-known objections to the pipeline.

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But the efforts fell short until Mike Black, the acting leader of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, interceded, Archambault told fellow tribal leaders at the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians last month. Yet as the chairman was on his way to D.C. to meet with a senior White House staffer, the Trump team approved the pipeline.

"I felt kind of slighted," Archambault said. "They decided on Tuesday, the day I flew out," he said, referring to the February 7 announcement on the project.

With the doors effectively closed at the executive branch, the tribe is still hoping to stop the pipeline through litigation. A decision on a preliminary injunction is expected this week and additional motions are pending to put a halt to the controversial project.

But the tribe also believes a strong public showing at Native Nations Rise can help bring about change. A series of blessings, discussions and presentations, along with the march from the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the White House, seek to draw attention to the struggles facing Standing Rock and other indigenous communities.

“Now, we are calling on all our Native relatives and allies to rise with us,” Archambault said. “We must march against injustice – Native nations cannot continue to be pushed aside to benefit corporate interests and government whim.”

Meanwhile, work continues at the final construction site in North Dakota, less than a half-mile from Standing Rock. The wealthy backers of the firm have said oil could be flowing anytime between now and April 1. A status update is to be filed in federal court sometime on Monday.

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