The late American Indian Movement activist Dennis Banks can be seen third from right at the #NoDAPL encampment in North Dakota in 2016. Photo: Joe Brusky

Dakota Access sued for failing to sell ranch at Standing Rock

The state of North Dakota is suing the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline for failing to sell a historic ranch in Standing Rock territory.

Dakota Access was supposed to sell the Cannonball Ranch on June 30 because corporations aren't allowed to own or lease agricultural land in the state, according to news reports. But when that didn't happen, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) filed a lawsuit.

“DAPL’s continued ownership of the land constitutes a continuing violation of state law,” the complaint reads, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Stenehjem is seeking a court order forcing the firm to sell about 6,000 acres, the paper said.

Dakota Access bought the Cannonball Ranch in September 2016, as opposition to the $3.8 billion pipeline gained international attention. The goal was to keep more people away from the area, which at times attracted up to 10,000 people.

Despite the state anti-corporate farming law, Stenehjem consented to the purchase because it was supposed to be temporary and it was deemed necessary for pipeline operations, according to news reports.

"Without having any further review and without understanding what the process was ... it's not fair. It's not right and the company is going to try to move forward without any consideration of tribes," Dave Archambault II, then-chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in remarks at the time.

According to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Cannonball Ranch began operations in the 1860s. It falls within territory promised to the Sioux Nation under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

"The ranch remains 'unceded Indian territory' reserved to the Sioux People," prominent attorney Gabe Galanda wrote in a post on Last Real Indians at the time of the purchase.

The Cannonball Ranch was later purchased by a man who was married to a Standing Rock woman. Both Henry S. Parkin and Alma Galpin, along with others, are buried there, according to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The Dakota Access Pipeline became operational in June 2017 after the Trump administration approved the final portion near Standing Rock and the Cannonball Ranch. A federal judge later ruled that the decision was made without considering all of the impacts on treaty rights, water resources and the environment.

Despite the ruling, the 1,200-mile pipeline continues to ship oil through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. Standing Rock and other tribes continue to remain concerned about oil spills on treaty territory.

Read More on the Story:
North Dakota Sues Dakota Access Over Farmland Ownership (The Associated Press July 11, 2018)
ND sues Dakota Access pipeline developer (KFGO July 10, 2018)
Dakota Access accused of violating North Dakota corporate farming law (The Bismarck Tribune July 3, 2018)

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