#Standing Rock, who are the players and how did we get to here? A timeline - APTN NewsAPTN News

#Standing Rock, who are the players and how did we get to here? A timeline

APTN National News
The Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion, four-state project designed to carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois, has become a rallying point for American Indian tribes and others determined to block it. First Nations from Canada have also crossed the border to join to fight against the desecration of a sacred site, and a pipeline that runs too close to a water source that is used by millions of people.

There have been more than 400 arrests since protests began in April.

How did we get to here?


June 16 – President Barack Obama visits the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Dakota Access pipeline has not been made public yet.

July – Dakota Access goes public with a plan to build an 1,800 kilometre pipeline from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to processing plants in Illinois. The pipeline will cross over waterways 200 times.

September –The U.S Army Corps of Engineers starts a process to look at cultural significance of site around Standing Rock. According to the USACE, 250 meetings take place. Eventually, study finds that No Historic Properties Affected.” The Tribes and ACHP dispute that finding.

December 22 – Dakota pipeline applies for local and state permits to build a pipeline from the Bakken oil fields, 1,800 kilometres to Illinois. The route is made public.


DAPL Route

March 25 – Public Services Commission (PSC) in North Dakota announces three public hearings into the pipeline in Mandan, Killdeer and Williston.

October 25 – Dakota Access writes to 21 Tribes to set up formal consultations on the pipeline. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Crow Nation, Santee Sioux Nation. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Spirit Lake Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. Winnebago Tribe, Lower Sioux Indian Community, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes, Prairie Island Indian Community, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

November 15 – Dakota Access Pipeline Limited submits an Environment Assessment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

December 9 – Dakota Access Pipeline Limited submits draft environmental assessment.

December 9 – The Army Corps of Engineers launches an environment assessment of the DAPL project.

December 18 – Dakota Access advertises in 12 local papers requesting public comments.

North Dakota- Bismarck Tribune, Williston Herald

South Dakota- Miner County Pioneer, The New Era,  The Desmet News,  The Argus Leader, The Salem Special, Huron Plainsman, Madison Daily Leader, Roscoe Hosmer Independent, Prairie Pioneer, McPherson County Herald.



January 8 – First draft of public comments completed (released August 2016)

January 20 – PSC approves the project – Board member Randy Christmann recuses himself during the vote because part of the pipeline runs through land that is willed to his wife.

February 10 – North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple applauds Supreme Court for striking down Obama’s CO2 emissions rules.

March – First protest against the pipeline surfaces with the Spirit Ride on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

April – Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline begins. 



April 1 – Members of the Standing Rock Dakota Sioux Tribe set up on the bank of the Cannonball River.

April 29 – Army Corps of Engineers holds a public forum in Mobridge, South Dakota for Native Americans to speak out about pipeline – everyone at the meeting opposes the project.

July 25 – Army Corps of Engineers approves three easements for water crossings on Lake Oahe, Laka Sakakawea and the Mississippi River.

July 25 – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe files an emergency injunction request to stop construction.

July 25 – The Finding of No Significant Impact and Final Environmental Assessments were signed and released to the public the week by USACE. For this project, USACE has jurisdiction over a very small portion of the overall pipeline and may not regulate where it does not have jurisdiction. In this case, it may only regulate the areas where the pipeline crosses waters of the United States or federal real property interests acquired and managed by the Corps for flood control and navigation projects.

August 3 – Enbridge buys into Dakota Access pipeline. The deal has not been finalized

August 10 – Thousands of American Indian Nations from across the United States and First Nations from Canada travel to North Dakota to join the fight against the pipeline. It is the largest gathering in over a century. First arrests take place.


August 10 – A new site is set up called the Oceti Sakowin camp north of the pipeline construction site and off highway 1806.

August 11 – 13 people are arrested after private security say protesters hampering construction of the pipeline.

August 12 – 6 people are arrested including Standing Rock Tribal chair Dave Archambault II.

August 15 – 50 demonstrators enter construction site property. 10 people arrested. Morton County Commission Chairman signs an emergency declaration. DAPL sues in federal court to stop protesters from interfering with construction.

August 17 – Traffic control point established by Water Protectors on Hwy. 1806. The highway runs by the pipeline construction site.

August 19 – North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signs an emergency declaration to give police more power. The declaration does not include activating the North Dakota National Guard.

Aug 31- One water protector secures himself to DAPL equipment. 8 people arrested.

August 24 – Judge hears arguments to put an injunction on the construction of the pipeline.

August 30 – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issues a FAQ about the Dakota Access pipeline.

September 2 – Standing Rock Dakota Sioux Tribe take their fight against DAPL to the federal court in Washington, D.C. asking for an emergency injunction to stop the pipeline construction near their territory.

September 4 – Security forces for the Dakota Access Pipeline clash after 300 water protectors cross into the construction site. Security forces use dogs and pepper spray against them. The security force is eventually forced to retreat. Democracy Now Journalist Amy Goodman is arrested and charged with trespassing. She was later charged with participating in a riot.


September 7 – A U.S. Federal Court judge on Tuesday allowed construction of a controversial four-state, $3.78 billion pipeline to continue in a conflict area the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says contains burial grounds and sacred sites.

September 7 – Morton County Sherriff’s Department files charges against Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein for spray painting “I approve this message” on DAPL equipment.

September 9 – Federal judge denies Standing Rock Sioux an injunction against construction on sacred land.

September 9 – Moments after judge’s decision is announced, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Army and the Department of the Interior issued a statement it would stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on land next to or under Lake Oahe which is under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. The decision puts a freeze on construction in a zone about 30 kilometres to the east and west of the lake, which is large reservoir on the Missouri River.

September 13 – The American Society of Archeology writes the U.S Army Corps of Engineers outlining a number of concerns about how USACE handled Standing Rock review.

September 14 – Dene activist Daniel T’seleie is arrested with six others and charged with reckless endangerment.

September 20 – Two weeks after DAPL workers and water protectors clash at the pipeline construction site, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department releases a statement on facebook to say it is investigating an incident between security forces and Water Protectors.  7 people have been charged with criminal trespass from actions related to the protest on 9/3/16. “

October 5 – Standing Rock Dakota Sioux are back in court asking for injunction

October 5 – The same day Standing Rock Sioux are in court, the North Dakota Public Services Commission releases a letter that states that pipelines are the safest route to transport oil.

October 10 – On Indigenous Day in the United States, 27 people are arrested including actress Shailene Woodley.


Actress Shailene Woodley in North Dakota.

Oct 17 – 142 people arrested for an unlawful protest at DAPL site.

October 17 – Standing Rock supporters rally around Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman who is arrested for participating in a riot.

October 25 – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Harold Frazier met with President Obama to discuss ongoing conflict in North Dakota. Obama assures Frazier that federal officials are on the ground ensuring no one is abused.


October 27 – Morton County Deputy Sheriff warns that the State of North Dakota has the personnel and equipment in place to “end this right now” meaning clear out traffic control barricade on highway 1806.

October 27 – #NoDAPL supporters occupy Brooklyn office of Democratic Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton.

October 27 – The North Dakota Public Services Commission releases a statement stating that it never considered a route around Bismarck, N.D. because it was never submitted in the proposal.

October 27 –Actor Mark Ruffalo and Reverend Jesse Jackson visit Standing Rock to offer support.


Actor Mark Ruffalo and Rev. Jesse Jackson in North Dakota

October 28 – Local and State police backed by the North Dakota National Guard move in on the barricade on highway 1806 using sound cannons, tasers and rubber bullets. More than 140 people are arrested. The scene is chaotic. Dozens are streaming the raid live on facebook.


October 28 – A man later identified as Kyle Thompson, an employee of Dakota Access Pipeline Limited, is arrested by authorities carrying an assault rifle after being surrounded by #NoDAPL supporters.

Standing Rock Kyle Thompson

A masked man later identified as Kyle Thompson is confronted by #NoDAPL supporters. No charges were laid against Thompson who was carrying an assault rifle through the protest lines.


October 28 – Democrat Senator (Vermont) Bernie Sanders write U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to intervene in the North Dakota dispute. While running for the Democratic nomination for President, Sanders was critical of the pipeline.

November 1 – 37 yr. old Red Fawn Fallis is charged with Attempted Murder of a law enforcement officer. According to the Morton County Sheriff’s department, Fallis fired three rounds at officers when they were trying to arrest her during the riot Thursday, October 27th on Highway 1806.

Red Fawn Fallis

Red Fawn Fallis was charged with attempted murder for allegedly firing a handgun during a confrontation with police.

November 2 – In an interview with Now This, U.S President Barack Obama says the USACE is looking at ways to reroute the Dakota Access pipelin. Obama also says that police need to show restraint and protestors needs to be peaceful.

November 2 – In a terse response to Obama’s call for calm, Morton County Chairman Cody Schultz says if the president wants to fix the situation he should send more police to uphold the law.

November 2 – Water Protectors cross the Cantapeta Creek trying to gain access to the Cannonball Ranch – a piece of private property that was recently sold to DAPL to build the pipeline. The Protectors say their ancestors are buried on the ranch. They run into a wall of police who use pepper spray and rubber bullets to force them back.

Standing Rock - Cannonball ranch

#NoDAPL supporters are greeted by a wall of police on the banks of the Cantapeta Creek. They were trying to gain access to the Cannonball Ranch. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN

November 2 – During an interview on the far bank of the Cannonball ranch creek, journalist Erin Schrode is interviewing an #NoDAPL supporter when she is shot by a rubber bullet. Schrode says it came from police stationed in a boat.

Standing Rock - military police

November 2 – Morton County Sheriff releases information on confrontation at the Cannonball Ranch. Explains that one person was arrested for buying a kayak.

November 2 – North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple sends out a birthday greeting as the state celebrates 127 years since it joined the union.

November 4 – Serge Simon, Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kanesatake warns there could be 20 Standing Rock disputes in Canada if government pushes ahead with Energy East pipeline.

November 7 – Adding to the list of celebrities who have visited Standing Rock, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter says the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll would be against the pipeline.

November 7 – Morton County Sheriff’s office releases statistics on arrests. 13 #NoDAPL protestors from Canada arrested including 5 from British Columbia.

November 7 – Hundreds of people march in Montreal in support of the people of Standing Rock against the pipeline.

November 8 – Donald J Trump is elected as the 45th President of the United States. Trump owns stocks in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

November 9 – Anti-DAPL supporters in the camp react to Donald Trump’s election as President.

November 12 – Nearly three-dozen water protectors were arrested Friday morning at multiple locations near land being excavated for the Dakota Pipeline Access pipeline and on a road where a number of people were blocking police from gaining access to the site.

November 12 – Multiple shots are fired by a worker believed to be with the pipeline. Video evidence shows the man shooting freely into the air and aiming his handgun at anti-DAPL supporters. No charges are laid.

November 14 – Hundreds of anti-DAPL supporters march on North Dakota State capital buiding in Bismarck.

November 15 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases statement informing public that it is putting construction of Dakota Access pipeline on its land on hold until concerns of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are addressed.

November 16 – #NoDAPL supporters march into Bismarck and concentrate on banks that support the Dakota Access pipeline project financially.

November 17 – the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal council votes to ask the Red Warrior camp to leave because of fears that proactive action could invite police to attack demonstrators.

November 20 – VIDEO: Local and state police use water cannons, rubber bullets, and pepper spray to beat back hundreds of #NoDAPL supporters. According to the water protectors, 12 people are hospitalized and 200 injured.


November 21 – Police in North Dakota say that use of water against #NoDAPL supporters was “effective” and will likely be used again.

November 21 – Sunoco Logistics announces it is buying Energy Transfer for $21 billion.

November 22 – #NoDAPL supporters camp recovers from confrontation with police at the Backwater bridge the night before where water, pepper spray and rubber bullets were used against them.

November 22 – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier releases a statement stating that police are misleading the public on what tactics they are using against #NoDAPL supporters. One demonstrator is in hospital with a severe arm injury.

November 22 – #NoDAPL supporters camp recovers from confrontation with police at the Backwater bridge the night before where water, pepper spray and rubber bullets were used against them.

November 22 – #NoDAPL supporter may lose arm after confrontation with police at the Backwater Bridge

November 22 – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier releases a statement stating that police are misleading the public on what tactics they are using against #NoDAPL supporters. One demonstrator is in hospital with a severe arm injury.

November 25 – APTN reporter Dennis Ward with a look at the fight over the Dakota Access pipeline.


November 27 – #NoDAPL supporters appeal to U.S President Barack Obama after the Army Corps of Engineers issues an eviction notice to the Oceti Sakowin camp.

December 4 _ Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy declines to allow the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe in part because she says alternate routes need to be considered. Energy Transfer Partners calls the decision politically motivated and accuses President Barack Obama’s administration of delaying the matter until he leaves office.

December 5 Jubiliation fills Oceti Sakowin camp as Army Corps of Engineers announces that it will not hand permits allowing Dakota Access to drill under Lake Oahe.

December 5 Veterans react to Army Corps of Engineers putting construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on hold.

December 8 – Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe tells #NoDAPL supporters that it’s time to go home.

January 18, 2017 _ The Army Corps launches a full environmental study of the pipeline’s disputed Lake Oahe crossing, a study that could take up to two years. Boasberg, the federal judge, rejects an ETP request to stop the study.

January 24 – Trump signs executive orders to move Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines forward. 

January 31 – Resumption of Dakota Access pipeline construction “imminent” says U.S. politicians. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota says the Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to complete the pipeline and a Hoeven spokesman says the move means “they plan to approve it” within days.



Who’s Who in the Dakota Access fight



Energy Transfer Partners, or ETP, is a Fortune 500 oil and natural gas company based in Dallas. It is the main owner of the pipeline, along with Sunoco Logistics Partners and Phillips 66.

Launched in 1995, the company now has about 115,000 kilometres of natural gas and crude oil pipeline. The Dakota Access project would add 1,800 more kilometres, and ETP has long had a goal of finishing it by the end of 2016. The company warned in court documents that a delay in construction would cost it $1.4 billion in lost revenue in the first year.

In August, the company announced it had sold nearly 37 per cent of the project to Enbridge Energy Partners, the company that developed the Keystone XL pipeline, and Marathon Petroleum Corp. in a deal worth $2 billion.

As reported by APTN Monday, an anti-pipeline Indigenous treaty alliance issued a call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn Enbridge Inc.’s role in the Dakota Access Pipeline project.


Dave Archambault II leads the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation on the North Dakota-South Dakota border sits close to the pipeline’s path. The laconic 45-year-old, whose tribe helped build a lawsuit against ETP and the federal government, has himself been sued by ETP for interfering with the pipeline and been arrested.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault in a still image from video statement.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault in a still image from video statement.

Archambault has spoken for years about concerns among the leaders of North Dakota’s five American Indian reservations about increasing “environmental incidents” in the state’s western oil patch. He travelled to Switzerland to plead the tribe’s case to the United Nations and urged President Barack Obama to step in.

After a federal judge declined to grant the Standing Rock tribe an injunction against the pipeline, three federal agencies ordered a halt to construction on Army Corps of Engineers-owned land while the permitting process was reviewed.


Members of more than 200 tribes from across North America have come to the tribe’s encampment at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers since August, the tribe says. Crowd estimates at the protest site have varied from a few hundred to several thousand depending on the day _ enough for tribal officials to call it one of the largest gatherings of Native Americans in a century or more.


They say the pipeline threatens water sources and will disturb sacred sites and artifacts, and there is a broader concern about tribal sovereignty and rights.

Many of the protesters are demonstrating peacefully and urging others to do the same. Others have been more militant. More than 140 people were arrested recently when law enforcement moved in to evict an encampment that had been set up on pipeline property.


The main face of law enforcement has been Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who previously was a captain with the state highway patrol, a part-time police officer, a corrections officer and a soldier.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier sized

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. Photo courtesy Red Power Media

His department has been accused by protesters of being sympathetic to the pipeline’s workers and private security. Though deputies were not at a violent Sept. 3 clash between protesters and private security guards on private land, Kirchmeier said in a news release that the guards were “ambushed and assaulted” by protesters. The tribe says the protesters were being provoked.

Kirchmeier has frequently cited the burden of the long-lasting protest on his small department. Morton County has had help from state troopers and National Guard members and, more recently, from sheriff’s departments travelling in from several states to help out.


Clashes between private security and protesters have been an issue, particularly during the Sept. 3 confrontation. Both security guards and protesters reported injuries.

This screen shot from a Democracy NOW! video purports to show security dogs used Sept. 3, 2016, to drive back protestors who had overrun the Dakota Access Pipeline worksite north of Cannon Ball, N.D. Images Courtesy Democracy NOW!

This screen shot from a Democracy Now video of confrontation between #NoDAPL supporters and security forces.

Tribal officials say about 30 protesters were pepper-sprayed and some bitten by dogs.

The sheriff’s department said last week that their investigation concluded that the guards with dogs were not licensed to do security work in North Dakota. They sent the results of their investigation to prosecutors for consideration of misdemeanour charges.


When the Dakota Access pipeline was announced, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple had just urged industry and government officials to build more pipelines to keep pace with the state’s oil production, which is second only to Texas’.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple gives a speech about the continuing investment of unmanned aircrafts at the Grand Forks County Building in Grand Forks, ND on July 6, 2015. (Grand Forks herald/ Joshua Komer)

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (Photo courtesy: Joshua Komer Grand Forks herald)

Aside from appearing at some briefings, Dalrymple has been mostly out of public view during the long process. The governor did send 100 National Guard members to help law enforcement.


The Standing Rock Sioux’s lawsuit against the pipeline revolves around challenging the Army Corps’ process for permitting water crossings. In September, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington declined the tribe’s request for an injunction as it pursues an appeal.

Boasberg, an Obama appointee in 2010, said the Corps documented dozens of its attempts to engage with Standing Rock officials to identify historical resources at Lake Oahe and other places covered by the permit, despite the tribe’s claims to the contrary. He said the tribe did not show it will suffer any harm that the court has the authority to prevent.

The tribe’s appeal is pending with the U.S. Court of Appeals.




— with files from the Canadian Press


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One Response to “#Standing Rock, who are the players and how did we get to here? A timeline”

  1. f.munkey@outlook.com'
    p.munkey November 8, 2016 at 4:33 am #

    Excellent timeline Mr. Blackburn, thank you for your efforts to inform!