The federal government is giving water protectors less than three weeks to clear out their camps due to concerns the Cannon Ball River will flood the camp during the spring melt.
Meanwhile, strategic differences among Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) opponents threatens the cohesion of the movement. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation will continue its fight in court and is organizing a March on Washington but has asked water protectors to decamp. Other groups, including the Sacred Stones Camp and a veterans group, vow to continue to have a physical presence opposing DAPL.
My friend Bob Klanderud and I drove to North Dakota this weekend to spend a few hours standing in solidarity with those who are working to protect the water and the sacred lands near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
It’s about an eight-hour drive from the Twin Cities.
In previous blogs, we have provided some of the political and legal context behind this story. With this post, we simply want to share images from the campground.
Still, for those who have not been following it, here is a quick rehash of the news. In previous blogs, we have linked to reports that state the original pipeline route would have crossed the Missouri near Bismarck, ND, “but authorities worried that an oil spill there would have wrecked the state capital’s drinking water.” So instead, it got rerouted so that plans now call for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River just one mile upstream from the Standing Rock Nation’s fresh water intake. The pipeline also would pass over sacred ground, including burial sites.
This blog has shared articles about how the pipeline company provoked a confrontation by using heavy equipment to dig up a sacred site while a court case was pending, instigating a clash between pipeline opponents and the pipeline company’s private security guards, who had mace and attack dogs. We have written about how religious leaders are coming out in support of the Standing Rock Nation.
There are multiple camp sites, and we stayed at the main camp. The main camp is just outside the reservation on federal land. Until recently, the camp was operating illegally. According to Indian Country Today, last Friday the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe got “an official permit to use federal lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ‘gather to engage in a lawful free speech demonstration … ‘”
OK, enough background. I have no knowledge of the camp politics or any developing strategy regarding the pipeline, but here (more or less in focus) is what I saw. Continue reading →