On the Wednesday prior to the demolition, eight protestors were arrested for trespassing after two men bound themselves to construction equipment, bringing the total of arrests around the pipeline up to 37. That number was reported by Oil Patch Dispatch, who also said that protestors worry “the pipeline threatens the tribe’s water supply and other sacred sites,”—concerns which have proven to be accurate. Standing Rock is part of a reservation, so for tribe members to be arrested on site is particularly heinous.

On August 25, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell dedicated a segment to how the treatment of the Sioux tribe’s right to their own land is in line with how indigenous people have been and continue to be abused in the U.S.:


In addition to on-the-ground protests and organization, the tribe also launched a lawsuit in July against federal regulators who approved the plans for the pipeline, specifically the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who fast-tracked construction approval. They’ve also filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop construction.

Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, says that the choice to come over Labor Day weekend and destroy the burial site was deliberate: “We’re days away from getting a resolution on the legal issues, and they came in on a holiday weekend and destroyed the site...What they have done is absolutely outrageous.”