Politics and civics

Obama Administration to shut down months-long DAPL protest at Standing Rock

As news media attention begins to focus on Standing Rock, the Obama Administration moves to shut down DAPL protests. Project timeline, ownership, Q&A.

Originally posted 25 November. REPOSTED from TheModerateVoice, which is down – probably a DDoS attack.

Standing Rock protest
California for Progress, Facebook

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the main encampment used by those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline will be closed by December 5, according to CBC Canada and other news reports.

Anyone who remains at the Oceti Sakowin camp after that date is subject to criminal trespassing charges, according to Col. John Henderson, the Omaha district commander.

The Black Friday announcement followed NY Times editorial board criticism on Wednesday:

… on Sunday in North Dakota … law enforcement officers escalated their tactics against unarmed American Indians and allies who have waged months of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. They drenched protesters with water cannons on a frigid night, with temperatures in the 20s.

It is that violence – perpetuated by contractors earlier this year and a militarized law enforcement operation this week – that is being used to justify closing down the camp. Thousands have been protesting the pipeline since spring, supporting the largest gathering of Native Americans in 100 years.

According to The Guardian:

The order was “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” from the winter weather.

Also on Wednesday, the NY Times published an interactive showing that the pipeline crosses Sioux land promised to the tribe in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, a promise that the U.S. government would ignore.

Irony alert: on October 31, President Obama declared November as National Native American Heritage Month.

Earlier in the week, ABC news broadcast drone video showing police dousing peaceful protesters with water – described by one side as water cannons and the other as firehoses.

The Army Corps of Engineers is also employing a tactic popularized by the Bush Administration and expanded by Obama – “free speech zones.”

The move also comes after U.S. veterans announced that they would be converging on North Dakota on December 4 in support of the water protectors.

Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, told the Bismarck Tribune that 5,000-7,000 people are in the camp.

Goldtooth said there’s not enough land on the south side of the river where many are already camping; and a planned winter camp on 50 acres of reservation land near Cannon Ball is not yet ready, with groundbreaking set for next week. “There’s no other space that can take people right now. This is a stupid, foolish act by the corps. I’m fairly sure that law enforcement would be just as concerned,” Goldtooth said.

These words from the Friday New York Times bear reflection:

Daniel Berrigan, the poet and priest who died in April, and whose actions throughout his life pushed the limits of civil disobedience, posed the issue in language that closely echoed that of Thoreau and bears relevance today: “Someone, as a strict requirement of sanity and logic, must be willing to say a simple thing: ‘The machine is working badly.’ And if the law of the machine, a law of military and economic profit, enacted by generals and tycoons, must be broken in favor of the needs of man, let the law be broken. Let the machine be turned around, taken apart, built over again.”

Q&A on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Got questions about who, what, when and how? We have answers.

  • What is the Dakota Access Pipeline?
  • Who is building the Dakota Access Pipeline?
  • What are the Bakken oil fields?
  • What is the impact on the North Dakota economy?
  • What is the NODAPL back story?
  • What is the North Dakota pipeline timeline?

The first protest camp emerged in April when Native Americans established a spiritual camp called Sacred Stone. The main camp is called Oceti Sakowin. Some camps are on land controlled by the Corps.


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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