State Archaeologist Finds No Evidence of Destroyed Cultural Artifacts at Dakota Access Pipeline Site

A group of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters attack a security guard on September 3, 2016, after claims that pipeline workers had destroyed cultural artifacts. Photo via Morton County

Earlier this month a violent clash between Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and security workers protecting the project and pipeline workers erupted after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said culturally significant artifacts and remains they’d identified had been destroyed.

Since then tribal Chairman David Archambault has repeatedly claimed that pipeline workers destroyed artifacts. But a review from the State of North Dakota’s archaeologist has found no evidence that any such destruction occurred, and identified no violations of law by the pipeline company.

You can read the full memo below.

An excerpt:

statearchaelogist

Keep in mind that the pipeline route had already been reviewed for archaeological/cultural impacts before being approved. Also Obama-appointed federal Judge James Boasberg found, in rejecting a both a restraining order and a request from an injunction from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, no evidence that the pipeline company had destroyed artifacts or in any way violated the law.

Boasberg did find a near total lack of cooperation from the tribe when it came to working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on identifying culturally significant areas. “Suffice it to say that the Tribe largely refused to engage in consultations,” he wrote.

Also worth mentioning is that, in this area where Standing Rock claims artifacts were destroyed, the Dakota Access Pipeline is being buried alongside existing infrastructure such as the Northern Border gas pipeline and power lines, the construction of which also required cultural/archaeological reviews. This is significant, because the tribe is claiming that there are archaeological artifacts in an area that has already been dug up for previous projects.

The Northern Border line, specifically, drew no objections from the Standing Rock tribe back then.

Here’s the full memo:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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