Breaking news out of North Dakota as The US Army Corps of Engineers has announced its plans to evict the portion of federal land on which water protectors are camping in North Dakota. This decision will be acted upon by December 5, in an attempt to ‘protect the public amid violent confrontations between protesters and law enforcement’ as they have stated.
A letter dated November 25, from Army Corps District Commander Col. John W. Henderson to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II included statements like:
“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation 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 notice said the Corps of Engineers had established “a free speech zone on land south of the Cannoball River for anyone wished to peaceably protest the Dakota Access pipeline project.”
Further, the notice stated that anyone found on the Corps’ land north of the Cannonball River after December 5 “will be considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state, and local laws.” It also said anyone staying on the lands would do so “at their own risk, and assume any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupations of such lands.”
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) November 25, 2016
Response From Sioux Tribe To People
“Today we were notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that on Dec. 5th, they will close all lands north of the Cannonball River, which is where Oceti Sakowin camp is located. The letter states that the lands will be closed to public access for safety concerns, and that they will allow for a ‘free speech zone’ south of the Cannonball River on Army Corps lands.
“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever. We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition. Our concerns were clearly articulated directly to them in a meeting on Sept. 30, 2014. We have released that audio recording from our council meeting where DAPL and the ND Public Service Commission came to us with this route.
“We ask that the United States stop the pipeline and move it outside our treaty lands.
“It is both unfortunate and ironic 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 treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the President will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”
This was followed by a concerned remark of hope that people will move their camps from certain, more dangerous places, and onto safer places as Dec 5th nears.
“As I have publicly stated, I am asking you, as a Tribal leader, to encourage members of your Tribe, as well as any non-members who support you who are located in the encampments north of the Cannonball River on Corps’ lands to immediately and peacefully move to the free speech zone south of the Cannonball River or to a more sustainable location for the winter. I am genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of both the members of your Tribe and the general public located at these encampments.”
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