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Tribes oppose development at Killdeer battle site
11 September 2013

BISMARCK (UTN) - North Dakota's five Native American tribes have gone on record opposing further industrial development at the Killdeer Battlefield Historic Site northwest of Killdeer in the state's oil patch.

      The United Tribes of North Dakota approved a resolution alerting the North Dakota Public Service Commission and other entities to its opposition.

      Members of United Tribes are the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

      Their opposition is focused on the proposed construction of an electric power transmission line or other facilities that the tribes believe "could potentially disturb the remains of those killed at the site."

      Killdeer Mountain is a sacred location made even more culturally significant by a brutal encounter in July 1864. U.S. Army troops, led by Brigadier General Alfred Sully, attacked a peaceful hunting encampment, killing Dakota and Lakota men, women and children. The soldiers destroyed hundreds of lodges, tons of buffalo meat, and piles of tanned hides, clothes, utensils and tipi poles.

      Those who managed to escape were unable to give relatives appropriate burial ceremonies and many bodies remain buried on the site.

      The so-called "battle" was part of the military's punitive campaign in Dakota Territory following the 1862 Minnesota/Dakota conflict. The United Tribes resolution says the campaign "would now be called a war of genocide."

      The resolution was passed unanimously September 6 and signed by UTND Board Chairman Tex "Red Tipped Arrow" Hall, chairman of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, and UTND Board Secretary Robert Shepherd, chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.

 

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