North Dakota leaders urge Obama for pipeline completion

The Standing Rock Sioux and others oppose the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline being built to carry oil from western North Dakota to a shipping point in IL because they say it threatens drinking water on the nearby reservation and cultural sites. Project developer Energy Transfer Partners and North Dakota regulators contend the pipeline is environmentally sound and will not disrupt Sioux sacred lands.

But the project has become a rallying point for Native Americans because the pipe would cut under the Missouri River within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, potentially contaminating the local tribes' source of fresh water and encroaching on land that the US government had agreed to set aside for them in an 1851 treaty.

Anti-pipeline activists accused authorities of firing a concussion grenade that tore open the woman's arm while she was distributing water Sunday night, while police said officers on the scene in Cannon Ball, N.D., did not deploy anything that would have caused such damage.

One officer was hurt by a flying rock.

Michelle Xiong, who works with United Way, noted that the information about the clash is conflicting, depending on whether it comes from law enforcement or protesters.

At least 17 protesters were injured severely enough to be taken to hospitals during the overnight skirmish at the bridge, said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. She said people in Charleston should be able to relate to the Sioux people that are trying to prevent their water from possibly being contaminated by a major oil leak in the future.

Even there, they say they aren't protesters, but "water protectors".

Most of the protesters are concerned primarily with preserving Native American cultural sites, but they also want to protect the water supply for themselves and future generations.

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Because the pipeline runs close to their reservation, the tribe has argued the entire project is illegal and violates their treaties with the US and so is also fighting the pipeline in court.

She said there weren't many people when the tribal members first showed up, but it soon grew.

Wilansky was taken on Monday to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, according to Reuters, where she underwent surgery in an attempt to save her arm.

The men say they hope to return to Standing Rock soon with a group to help with construction and winterization projects before the bitter North Dakota winter sets in.

"In return, the local police department fired water hoses at them, large rubber bullets which they were aiming for head, they were also shooting tear gas and it turned into a more violent demonstration than it was meant to be by the protectors", Stuck said.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation are assisting with the investigation.

Obama raised the possibility of rerouting the pipeline earlier this month.

"People have varying political spectrums about what they believe is violent and nonviolent", said Heather Milton-Lightening, who leads direct action trainings at the camp. They also passed out sandwiches and drinks.