Tribal Gathering Against Dakota Access Faces Aggressive State Repression and Media Manipulation

Monday, Aug 15, 2016 ND State Troopers surround and arrest an oppenent to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rob Wilson

Monday, Aug 15, 2016 ND State Troopers surround and arrest an oppenent to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rob Wilson

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2016

The historic gathering of tribes from across the continent in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues in the face of aggressive state repression and media manipulation.  Last Friday, Governor Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency in order to make additional state resources available to “manage public safety risks associated with the protest.”  Dalrymple has complained of “outside agitators” responsible for “hundreds of criminal acts,” and called on federal officials to help.  But LaDonna Allard, Director of the Camp of the Sacred Stone, says, “The gathering here remains 100% peaceful and ceremonial, as it has from day one.  We are standing together in prayer.  No firearms or weapons are allowed.  Why is a gathering of Indians so inherently threatening and frightening to some people?”

On Monday, August 22, the Morton County Board also declared a State of Emergency in order to access the funds released by the Governor - to request overtime wages, extra equipment, and money to reimburse other law enforcement agencies sending resources.  This decision relies on a false narrative of violence put forth by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who last week announced outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of “pipe bombs” and gun violence at the protest site.  Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network says, “These are dangerous statements by Sheriff Kirchmeier and only foster greater resentment between local native and non-native residents. Furthermore, we have women, children and elders in our camp; and because of the Sheriff’s false narrative those families now have to fear for their own safety. ”

Meanwhile, the main road accessing the camp, Highway 1806, has been shut down by authorities since Friday.  A military-style checkpoint is established at Fort Lincoln, where motorists are constantly surveilled with cameras and interrogated about their activities.   Identities are recorded and anyone suspected of traveling to the protest site is turned away and forced to travel a long detour. These checkpoints violate constitutional protections and international law by restricting freedom of movement without justification.  They further isolate a people who are already extremely geographically and politically isolated.  At the same time, police presence has been amplified on the reservation and many have been racially profiled and harassed for no reason.  

On Monday, North Dakota’s Homeland Security Director ordered the removal of state-owned medical trailers and water tanks from the camp, citing reports of unlawful activity and fears that the equipment is unsafe.  Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, says, “It is deeply ironic that the Governor would release emergency funds under the guise of public health and safety, but then remove the infrastructure that helps ensure health and safety in the camp.  This is nothing but repression of our growing movement to protect our water and future generations.”

The North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also announced they are investigating two incidents of “laser strikes” aimed at surveillance aircraft patrolling above the camp.   “Why launch a federal investigation into a laser pointer instead of asking what right the US government has to fly surveillance planes over sovereign nations in the first place?” said Houska.


Spirit Camp Warriors Stand in Path of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Armed with banners and prayers, members of the Camp of the Sacred Stones stood together early this morning in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Land defenders camped along the Missouri and Cannonball rivers remain undaunted in their vigilance to protect and defend the water, sacred and burial sites, and sensitive wildlife habitat in immediate danger from the pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge.

Dakota Access issued a 48-hour work notice to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Monday, announcing that construction activities were scheduled to start on the Missouri River crossing, just north of the reservation, on Wednesday August 10th.  The tribe had filed a permanent injunction on July 27th and a preliminary injunction on August 4th in an effort to stop construction immediately, but the preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for August 24th and their pleas are being ignored.   

Campers have said they are disappointed that the proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline slated to carry fracked oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois is ignoring pending legal action taken by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Oceti Sakowin tribes of the Lakota/ Dakota/ Nakota Nation in an effort to lay as much pipe as possible while ignoring treaty law, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Energy Transfer Partners is being allowed as a for-profit company to trump federal trust responsibilities guaranteed in the 1851 and 1868 United States treaties with the L/D/Nakota tribes, which remain the supreme law of the land as guaranteed in the US constitution.

"The notice from Dakota Access Pipeline to start construction in 48 hours is a blow to the people of Standing Rock.  We keep praying for the water and land. We are searching for every avenue through prayer to defeat this Black Snake.  Please remember water is life."

-Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, landowner and director of Camp of the Sacred Stones

LaDonna Allard, Camp of the Sacred Stones, 426-2064

Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network, 515-4792

Battle Over Dakota Access Pipeline Intensifies: Youth Run, Spirit Camp, Capitol Occupation

Yesterday, a group of Oceti Sakowin youth from different Dakota and Lakota nations arrived in Washington DC after running ~2000 miles by relay, in spiritual opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL, also known as the ‘Bakken Pipeline’).  The run will culminate with a rally today at the White House after the delivery of 140,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today, to ask President Obama to pressure the USACE to repeal its water-crossing permits for the pipeline.