Standing Rock Council Approves Order to Evacuate Demonstrators*
Protesting out of a profound understanding of what is right, and protesting out of anger/indignation are different in manifestation. The former is long lived, and the latter brings about the opposite to what one desires…..
Council members have called on demonstrators to stop clashing with police in order to secure their small victories.
Every encampment opposing the Dakota Access pipeline has until Feb. 19 to close and move away, a new Standing Rock Sioux tribal council order has announced.
In a unanimous vote, the council voted on Friday to close all camps including the main Oceti Skowin, Roseby and Sacred Stone camps, Indian Country Media Network reported.
The decision came after a motion was approved two days earlier by tribal members of the Cannon Ball District in which residents voted in favour of closing the camps. With more than 1,000 people still camping near the reservation, residents have complained of increased violence, use of drugs and alcohol and clashes with the police.
“The main objective of the people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been achieved to a degree,” Cody Two Bears, the district representative from Cannon Ball, said, as quoted by ICMN.
“All the individuals at all the camps in and around Cannon Ball need to leave.”
Despite the Army Corps of Engineers order to halt construction of the project, demonstrators have continued confronting police repression and blocking access to the pipeline drill pad. At least 624 people have been arrested since August, according to ICMN, with 35 of them happening only this month.
For their part, authorities have not stopped neither their intimidation nor their violent repression.
Last Wednesday, police sent at least one demonstrator to the hospital with injuries to the face, according to Morton County officials. This is presumably from the bean-bag rounds of ammunition and chemical gases the police have reportedly been using on protesters.
And just last week, protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp reported the U.S. National Guard had deployed an Avenger surface-to-air missile system at a key drill site.
“This is intimidation tactics 101,” Dallas Goldtooth, a Water Protector with the Indigenous Environmental Network said, adding that the state was simply antagonizing peaceful protesters.
The Backwater Bridge, just north of the main Oceti Sakowin camp, is the main source of contention at the moment, as it remains closed by authorities despite being the main route of transportation for Cannon Ball residents.
Tribal council members have demanded that clashes on the bridge stop so that state officials may agree to reopen it.
There was some disagreement with the decision to close the camps, namely from Standing Rock Sioux tribal member, Edward Black Cloud, who criticized the council’s financial priorities.
“I know how much money is involved, what’s in the pocket of the council,” said Black Cloud, according to ICMN. “You guys are wrong for sending these guys home. They gave their heart to you.”
Still, most of the dozen or so members present at the meeting agreed the camps had to close, with some expressing “shock” at the violent and sometimes disrespectful turn the protests have reportedly taken.
Citing concerns over the misappropriation of ceremonial songs, mistreatment of elders and women and increased verbal and physical confrontations with police, one member lamented that the “movement has lost the spirituality that it once had,” ICMN reported.
There are also fears of flooding happening due to the increased snow in the region, which can melt and cause the river to flood the camps.
Tribal members are also calling demonstrators to stop clashing with the police so as to not jeopardize the small victories they have so far claimed.
Indeed, as Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II reminded council members, the Environemntal Impact Study was finally entered into the public register last week.
With Rep. Kevin Cranner announcing the government’s intentions to do reverse that decision, Archambault called for increased discipline.
“I’m worried that our most recent behavior, these actions on the bridge, are going to give reason for the incoming president to do away with what we worked so hard for, in getting the EIS,” he told council members, ICMN reported.
The tribe has called for a January 30 start date to begin clearing out the abandoned debris at the camps.