The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe published a Q&A on its website yesterday (March 17) with its chairman, Dave Archambault II. In it, he addressed rumors of his “selling out” to Dakota Access Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners and answered why he instructed supporters to leave the camps back in December.
The chairman has come under fire in the past, including in February when Sacred Stone Camp Founder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard accused his council on Facebook of “betray[ing]” the movement. During the March 10th Native Nations Rise March in Washington D.C., some marchers question whether he’d show up, often referring to him as “DAPL Dave.”
Archambault did attend the march and spoke at the rally. He did not address any of the allegations against him then, but he is now in the Q&A.
On selling out:
Blanket accusations are easy to make, especially by those who intentionally try to paint the tribe in a bad light. If you ask accusers about specific facts behind an accusation, they recite social media opinions without any substance. Those who know me know that I could never sell out. It’s unfortunate that I am even having to explain this. I’ve never considered compromising the tribe’s opposition on DAPL with Energy Transfer, the state, or the federal government. My position and the position of our tribal council has remained the same over the last three years – we wholeheartedly oppose the construction of DAPL through our treaty lands.
On asking campers to go home:
It was a complicated situation between a majority of Standing Rock citizens who the council and I represent and certain factions within the camps. The tribe based its decision after heavily weighing the situation and listening to both our citizens and camp representatives. I’d like to point out that the vast majority of campers respected the tribe’s decision and we thank them for respecting our sovereignty….
There were literally thousands of GoFundMe accounts that were initiated by individuals and organizations affiliated with camps and initiatives who raised funds in the name of the tribe and our fight. I cannot speak to how those funds were used. We are aware that there are accusations that the tribe seized funds from certain groups. This is untrue, we have no such authority.
Those who donated to the tribe directly, rather than to a camp or other organization, donated to a sovereign government, represented by a tribal council. As a government entity, we are held to higher standards of accountability, including annual audits. The money transferred to our general fund was intended to make up for some of the impacts to our community associated with the sudden population boom.
On destroying property at Sacred Stone Camp:
First, Sacred Stone Camp spokespeople have been misleading the public. The truth is, most of the land where the Sacred Stone camp was located is Army Corps land. On the remaining land, the tribe is the majority owner, with a number of siblings from a family holding smaller, fractionated interests. Reports that the Sacred Stone camp was located on one individual’s, or one family’s, land is simply not true. The tribe did not bulldoze or destroy any property. It is true, however, that law enforcement did enter and remove structures in areas under their jurisdiction. This was due to lack of permits, trespassing issues, along with NEPA & Historic Preservation concerns. From our understanding, the camp organizers were given ample notice by law enforcement.
On what other tribal leaders should do:
My family, my faith, and my community have enabled me to stay on what I believe is the correct course. We must be accountable to those who elected us, and we must raise our children by example. We could not have come this far without our allies, and I encourage all tribal leaders, citizens, and allies to maintain unity and strength and to face the real enemy – ignorance, fear & oppression. We are not each other’s enemies; we are relatives. We are all related.
Read the complete Q&A here.