VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has insisted that indigenous peoples must give prior consent for any economic activity on their ancestral lands — an indirect critique as the Donald Trump administration seeks to advance construction on a $3.8 billion oil pipeline over opposition from American Indians.
Francis met Wednesday with representatives of indigenous peoples attending a U.N. agricultural meeting in Rome. He said the key issue facing them is how to reconcile the right to development with protection of their cultures and territories.
He said "the right to prior and informed consent" should always prevail especially "when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the Earth."
The Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes are suing to stop the Dakota Access project.