American Indians fight pipeline construction

Native Americans and security clashed at the site of a pipeline and sparked social responses.

ST. PETERSBURG - In most counties across the Bay area there are ancient American Indian mounds. Historians say some were burial mounds and others were ceremonial.  What if those that we know about were bulldozed?  That’s what the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says is happening in North Dakota.

They have been joined by hundreds of other American Indians to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

The tribe argues that the pipeline could contaminate drinking water on its reservation and crews will destroy sites sacred to Native Americans that their researchers have found off of the reservation, but nearby.

On Saturday, protesters and security guards for Energy Transfer Partners clashed.

Video from Democracy Now shows what happened between both sides.

You can see protesters with wooden sticks and poles confronting security guards with pepper spray and dogs ready for action.

Protesters claim they were pepper sprayed and the dogs were set loose to attack them.

The guards say they were targeted and reported to law enforcement that at least two of their dogs were injured by protesters hitting them.

Many posted on the 10News WTSP Facebook page with strong opinions.  Some support the protesters and others say they should not have trespassed on private property.

Twila L. Schott posted: “The protesters broke through a fence and entered private property ... the security guards and dogs were attacked ... what else could happen but people get hurt.”

Syd Willis responded: “It’s an ancient burial ground for christ sakes of course its their land.”

The land where crews are working is not part of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

Representatives with Energy Transfer Partners did not return calls or emails for comment about the clash.

The tribe has asked a federal judge to stop construction.  That ruling should come down by Friday.


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