Harold Frazier
Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe addresses the National Congress of American Indians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 23, 2019. Photo by Kevin Abourezk
Cease the operation and remove the Dakota Access Pipeline
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

The following is the text of a February 23, 2022, letter to from Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to President Joe Biden of the United States.

Dear President Biden,

The Tribe is a signatory to Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and a constituent tribe of the Sioux Nation. In the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Sioux Nation reserved to itself the territory known as the Great Sioux Reservation. The United States promised that this territory would be “set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians herein named.” See Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, art. II.

As a result of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 certain agreements were reached as to the conditions for consent from the Great Sioux Nation. The United States agreed “stipulates and agrees that no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same; or without the consent of the Indians first had and obtained, to pass through the same;” See Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, art. XVI.

The United States broke its promise in 1877, when it enacted the Act of February 28, 1877, taking the Black Hills and other lands from the Sioux Nation. The United States Supreme Court acknowledged the illegality of the United States’ taking of the Black Hills in the case of U.S. v. Sioux Nation (1980). In that case, the Supreme Court held that the Sioux Nation was entitled to compensation for the taking of the Black Hills. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and other tribes of the Sioux Nation have not accepted the compensation awarded for the Black Hills, insisting to this day that the United States stole the Black Hills and that it should return the Black Hills.

The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 is our mutual and solemn agreement to provide for a peaceful and fruitful future of our two nations. Since the beginning we have faced many challenges to that peace, and we are still hoping for a future in which our people can thrive. It has been through the resilience of the people of the Great Sioux Nation that we still live on our ancestral homelands. To that end, I am asking that you permanently stop and remove the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline continues to trespass on the territory of the Great Sioux Nation and endanger the lives of our people with the possibility of polluting land and water. This Project has been operating without a permit for a very long time and is in violation of your laws and our treaties. The Tribes intend to keep the lands in their original and natural state, reintroducing buffalo and other natural species, and preserving the area for traditional cultural and religious ceremonies. The time to end this threat to our people and honor the treaties is now.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hereby requests the end of the Dakota Access Pipeline by stopping its operation and removing it from our territory immediately. We look forward to working with you on this matter.


Harold Frazier is serving his second consecutive term as chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, an Indian nation based in South Dakota. He also serves as president of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association. He previously served as chair and vice chair of his tribe and as an area vice president for the National Congress of American Indians.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. Dakota Access (January 26, 2021)

Federal Register Notice
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for an Easement to Cross Under Lake Oahe, North Dakota for a Fuel-Carrying Pipeline Right-Of-Way for a Portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (September 10, 2020)

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