Tensions between water protectors and law enforcement at Standing Rock, North Dakota, are escalating as opponents to the Dakota Access Pipeline increase efforts against the Army Corps of Engineers plans to finalize the 1,172-mile long crude oil project.
Reports came in today (February 2) at noon from Lakota historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard via Facebook that authorities—including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council—had entered Sacred Stone Camp, which she founded on her property. “We have been betrayed by Standing Rock Tribal Council,” she wrote on Facebook.
Water protectors at the camp said, on a Facebook video posted by the Women’s Indigenous Media, that Bureau of Indian Affairs officers opened the camp gates themselves for an “assessment,” but did not present a warrant to come onto the property. In this video, officers tell the pipeline opponents that some of the land is Army Corps land. They do not give a reason for their “assessment.”
Today’s actions follow a mass arrest of 76 water protectors, including former congressional candidate Chase Iron Eyes, yesterday (February 1). Those apprehended had erected a new camp, The Last Child Camp, which was set on private property, according to a release from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. However, water protectors claim the hill on which the new camp sat was treaty land. Militarized police came onto the scene with military vehicles and non-lethal weapons.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) February 2, 2017
The Oceti Sakowin Camp, which sat directly across from this new camp, was left alone, according to Facebook reports from several Indigenous organizers. This camp is still in the cleanup process to prepare for spring flooding.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe hasn’t responded publicly to Allard’s comments. Around 11 a.m. EST, they released a statement via Facebook to pay homage to the recent visits of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who supports Dakota Access.