Shadowproof - The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was served with an eviction notice for the Oceti Sakowin camp, one of the main encampments populated by indigenous water protectors and allies fighting construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on tribal land.
“I am closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective December 5, 2016,” district commander Colonel John W. Henderson declared. “This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”
The announcement was delivered in a letter to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II.
Archambault responded, “It is both unfortunate and disrespectful that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving, a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe.”
“Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the maltreatment of our people. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stands united with more than 300 tribal nations and the water protectors, who are here peacefully protesting the Dakota Access pipeline, to bolster indigenous people’s rights, which continue to be eroded,” Archambault concluded.
This decision comes nearly a week after authorities, primarily the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, unleashed an unprovoked attack on water protectors after they cleared a highway bridge of a charred military vehicle that was left as a barricade. The water protectors viewed it as an obstruction in the way of emergency access to the camp.
Over 300 people were injured, including one twenty-one year-old woman whose arm will likely be amputated because she was hit with a concussion grenade. Police surrounded hundreds of people, aimed a water cannon at water protectors when it was 28 degrees Fahrenheit, set off a volley of tear gas, and threatened protectors with a sound cannon. The actions of police ensured there was violence, which ultimately spurred the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision against the Oceti Sakowin camp.