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Oceti Sakowin camp

Though the Oceti Sakowin Camp was hit by a severe blizzard earlier this month, tents and vehicles still filled the area. Campers worked to keep each other warm, cutting firewood and passing out hand and foot warmers. 

WASHINGTON — A Standing Rock Sioux Tribe representative said the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy served as a springboard for discussion this week during a listening session with the Donald Trump’s transition team and tribal leaders.

Chad Harrison, member of the Standing Rock Tribal Council, was among tribal leaders from around the country who participated in a listening session Wednesday in Washington.

While the event was not focused on Dakota Access, the Standing Rock Tribe’s lawsuit over the pipeline’s Missouri River crossing raised awareness of broader issues, such as the need for greater tribal consultation on infrastructure projects and other policy issues, Harrison said Thursday.

The event held in collaboration with President-elect Trump’s transition team aimed to provide an opportunity for tribal leaders to discuss issues important to Indian Country.

“I was impressed with what seems to be the Trump administration’s efforts to get in front of some issues and be inclusive of Native American issues,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he didn’t speak publicly during the event, but he did tell a member of the Trump transition team that Standing Rock officials are open to a more formalized meeting to discuss how to move forward with Dakota Access.

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“We wanted to make those folks on that team as well as the folks at the meeting aware that we are open to that dialog,” he said.

Harrison said he wanted to clarify the tribe’s position on Dakota Access, which would cross the Missouri River less than a mile north of the reservation.

“We’re against the placement of the pipe. We haven’t taken a stance against oil development or energy development,” Harrison said. “We realize that’s part of the world today.”

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