More than six months since the #NoDAPL movement took the national stage to contest the 1,172-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline, fissures are growing within the movement as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council begins disassociating itself with the camps that brought together thousands of people.
In addition, council members allegedly unlawfully entered the Sacred Stone Camp with Bureau of Indian Affairs officers just a day after law enforcement arrested 76 water protectors. Lakota historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who founded the Sacred Stone camp on her property, is criticizing the council’s latest action.
She writes, for YES! Magazine:
They had no warrant, but they forced their way onto my private land, my family’s land, where I grew up on the banks of the Cannonball River. It was our own council members together with the Standing Rock Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Army Corps, all seeking to evict me from my homeland.
Allard names the tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, for “[throwing their] people to the dogs.” Archambault and his council, however, say they have been meeting with North Dakota Gov. Doug Borgum, who has supported the oil project. Allard writes that the tribe, of which she is a member, could bring down the movement through its state negotiations. “As division grows, it is very difficult to see a path forward,” she goes on.
Allard also highlighted the colonial and historic decisions that led to this potentially divisive moment in the movement. Tribal councils weren’t the way of governing before the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Allard states:
This is a colonial system of government with no basis in Lakota/Dakota/Nakota culture or teachings. It is the same tactic they used with the Indian agents and the Hangs Around the Fort betrayals. They fabricate a leader that will allow them to take what they want from us. The hunger for power can divide a people.
The tribe went on Facebook to denounce this division on February 4: “The movement is bigger than just the tribe. It is bigger than the Chairman, or any individual. We should all be working together to protect the tenets of the movement.”