President Obama Just Dodged a Question About Dakota Access Pipeline (VIDEO) President Obama Just Dodged a Question About Dakota Access Pipeline (VIDEO)

President Obama Just Dodged a Question About Dakota Access Pipeline (VIDEO)

The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline is garnering worldwide attention, and President Obama is refusing to take a position.

During a public town hall at Souphanouvong University in Laos, Obama fielded a question from a Malaysian student about the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying she was asking the question in solidarity with Native American tribes who have united to stop the pipeline’s construction for several weeks. President Obama responded that while his administration has fought to have an “honest and generous and respectful” relationship with indigenous tribes, he would have to talk to his staff before commenting specifically on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Video of the exchange was published on C-SPAN:

STUDENT: My question is, in your capacity, what can you do to ensure the protection of ancestral land, the supply of clean water, and also environmental justice is upheld? (applause)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it’s a great question. As many of you know, the way that Native Americans were treated was tragic. One of the priorities that I’ve had as president is restoring an honest and generous and respectful relationship with Native American tribes. And so we have made an unprecedented investment in meeting regularly with the tribes, helping them design ideas and plans for economic development, for education, for health, that is culturally appropriate for them.

And this issue of ancestral lands and helping them preserve their way of life is something that we have worked very hard on. Now, some of these issues are caught up with laws and treaties, and so I can’t give you details on this particular case. I’d have to to go back to my staff and find out how we are doing on this one.

This exchange is the first time President Obama has publicly commented on the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2010, Obama announced the U.S. would sign onto a non-binding United Nations declaration affirming the rights of indigenous peoples. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has not yet commented on the issue as of this writing.


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