Tribes and allies defend North Dakota oil pipeline activists

Ted Land reports

Washington state tribes gathered Tuesday to call on President Obama to overhaul what they say is a failed system of consulting with natives on projects like the Dakota Access oil Pipeline.

"Tribal nations are forced time and time again to defend that which is sacred to us," said Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council. 

"We have treaties and promises from the federal government, but almost always, we have to go to court and use our resources defending these rights,” he said.

The tribes say the White House needs to make a series of policy changes and do a better job of recognizing tribal rights.

Tribal allies, meanwhile, are preparing for a rough winter on the front lines in North Dakota.

Jennessa West and her family are planning to make the long drive from Ballard to North Dakota with supplies for the people gathered there. They're also raising money to buy winterized tents and wood-burning stoves. 

“For me, it's like if someone were trying to rip my grandmother out of the earth, rip my grandfather out of the earth, tear through a church, tear through any of that, you would stand up,” West said.

Copyright 2016 KING


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