Washington tribes demand that Obama stop, reroute Dakota Access Pipeline

By Lynda V. Mapes Seattle Times environment reporter

After police used water cannons and tear gas on protesters in North Dakota, more than two dozen Washington tribes have written President Obama, urging that he stop construction and reroute the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Twenty-eight tribal leaders in Washington state have written President Obama insisting he stop and reroute the Dakota Access Pipeline, following a night of violence in North Dakota in which police used a water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas against pipeline protesters.

Declaring their solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the tribal chairs wrote, “We support their call to deny the easement of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to reroute the pipeline away from tribal lands, waters and sacred places.”

Tribal leaders also said they were outraged at the tactics used by police against demonstrators, especially the water cannon deployed in subfreezing weather.

“Industry and their goons and their so-called peacekeepers are taking it to the next level,” said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. “I have seen in the last two days some very serious, almost crimes against humanity against citizens. They are going a step too far in enforcing the law, using water cannons during freezing temperatures, tear gas and rubber bullets.”

Some 167 people were treated for injuries, including one elder who was revived from cardiac arrest by medics administering CPR, said Angela Bivens, a volunteer attorney working at Standing Rock with the National Lawyers Guild. Up to 20 people were injured severely enough to be taken to Bismarck, N.D., hospitals, Bivens said.

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