8748b6d9d397102736e47200c2c3a7f2_xl(Smoky Mountain News) The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians threw its support behind the cause of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota when Tribal Council voted to give $50,000 toward a legal battle to prevent construction of an oil pipeline north of Standing Rock Sioux land. “This is an issue of tribal sovereignty. This is also an issue of honoring a treaty. More importantly, it’s an issue of water rights,” Vice Chief Richard Sneed told council at its Sept. 6 Budget Council meeting. “Where this pipeline is set to cross just north of the reservation, when there is a break that will pollute the only water source.”

Sneed was quick to express his appreciation for council’s unanimous vote and endorsement of the $50,000 figure — in the resolution he submitted, he’d left the dollar amount blank for council to fill in. “I’m humbled. I’m honored. Today you demonstrated why we are leaders in Indian Country,” he said. “I had no idea or even expected a move of that much. It’s impressive.” Sneed told council that he’d like to hand-carry the check to North Dakota. When Principal Chief Patrick Lambert addressed council at another meeting two days later, he concurred with Sneed’s appreciation of council’s actions and pledged a swift signing of the resolution.

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