Army Corps Grants Easement as Repression Continues at Standing Rock

Cannon Ball, ND – On February 7th, 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers stated its intent to grant an easement to Dakota Access LLC, to cross Lake Oahe with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The easement is north of the location where tens of thousands of people gathered to show their opposition to DAPL at a series of protest camps.

The indigenous led movement of Water Protectors saw hundreds of tribes come together to state their opposition to this fossil fuel project, and elevate the importance of clean drinking water for future generations. Once the easement is granted, which includes the Army Corps intent of waiving the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), it’s estimated at sixty days until completion of the contested Lake Oahe crossing.

Before this announcement, tension in the area had increased as reports of officers from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) joining active police forces in the area, and North Dakota National Guard now on the frontlines.

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On February 1st, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, accompanied by the North Dakota National Guard, removed the barriers at the Backwater Bridge and moved on a newly established treaty camp, which to Morton county was on private land, and to the land defenders, fell within the boundaries of an 1851 Fort Laramie treaty.

The camp called the “Last Child Camp” was surrounded by Sheriff’s deputies as National Guardsmen in riot gear formed a line at the entrance of the main camp. Seventy six arrests were recorded in the camp, including journalists.

Those arrested included journalist Jenni Monet who stated she was complying with police orders when arrested.

The arrests on February 1st bring the total number of arrests related to DAPL since August 2016, to over 700.

Despite the recent granting of the easement, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe announced its intent to legally challenge any reversal to the EIS process, which has already officially started.

On January 17, three days before the Trump administration took office, the Department of the Army, published in the Federal Register their formal intent to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement regarding the DAPL easement to drill under the Missouri River.

If and when the easement is granted, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will vigorously pursue legal action. We have to this date received no formal notice that the EIS has been suspended or withdrawn. To abandon the EIS would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the President’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments. Furthermore, the Army Corps lacks statutory authority to simply stop the preparation of the EIS and issue the easement.Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Meanwhile, the federal government has sent in more BIA agents. The bureau is a federal agency established in 1824 for controlling federal programs in Indian Country.

Recently, the BIA, accompanied by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council and members of the Army Corps, and staff from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), “assessed” parts of some of the camps around Oceti Oyate (formerly Oceti Sakowin). Specifically, they entered Rosebud and Sacred Stone camps as the authorities prepare for a February 22nd eviction date.

Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, founder and landowner of Sacred Stone Camp as well as a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, issued a statement denouncing the role that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s government, as well as tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, have taken in assisting government actions against water protectors:

Then they came for our Sacred Stone Camp, the original spirit camp we built to lay our prayers and our water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. But this time, they were accompanied by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council. 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 (BIA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the US Army Corps, all seeking to evict me from my homeland.

The world wants to stand with Standing Rock, but Standing Rock stands against us. Chairman Dave Archambault threw our people to the dogs when he said the camps’ actions “…do not represent the tribe nor the original intent of the water protectors.” He forgets that we at Sacred Stone Camp were the first to stand up for the water, and that we stand with all the camps who have joined our struggle…

Historically, our people’s resistance has been repressed with bloody battles and massacres — but also by the hands of Indian collaborators. Our relatives did not see who the enemy was, because it was their own relatives who turned against them, enabled by the same kind of lies from the same kind of corporate media.

Our traditional leaders were forced aside by the Indian Reorganization Act of 1936, when federal authorities forced the establishment of tribal councils on the reservations. 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…

Like Red Cloud and Spotted Tail, and the other “agency” Lakota who so quickly surrendered our lands and way of life while thousands fought back alongside Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, today our tribal council has misunderstood what is really at stake…” – Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, To Save the Water, We Must Break the Cycle of Colonial Trauma

Despite threats of eviction and an even more increased militarized force that has the BIA joining the policing of water protectors gathered to defend the Missouri River, some have sworn to stay to protect the water.

Intent to grant easement statement below.

Dakota-Access-Pipeline-Notification-Grijalva

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One thought on “Army Corps Grants Easement as Repression Continues at Standing Rock

  1. steph

    Mother and the Black snake…

    Through the grass the hidden shoots of new life began to spring. Tiny webs of life spread faster and faster through the well mulched soil, and the worms and beetles could feel the quickening of life deep deep down. Sap began to rise up inside the trees of canopy and undercanopy. The plants at ground level felt the urge to grow, grow, grow, to catch the early spring light, to flower and produce seed before the leafy roof appeared.
    In the deep depths at the centre of the earth, the mother stirred. She felt the quickening and drawing out of life from that side of the planet, as she also balanced the abundance and overwhelming blooming on the other side, as Father Sun made his slow journey across the sky. The mother was very tired, the demands on her soul had been out of balance for many years now, this creature, this “man” had dug deep pits into her skin, had depreciated her wells of energy, and had left a mass of waste in its place. Sadly this waste was not something she could encompass, for it was unnatural. However, she had to obey the calling of Father Sun, her agreement with him had lasted since the beginning of time, and she could only comply.
    And so, spring came yet again to the countryside.
    Mother spoke from her heart to Father sun, “Much as I love you great Father, I feel out of balance and unhappy, these last years, have been pitted with uneveness and I am worried”.
    “Great Mother, this “man” has harmed you greatly, and I am sure there is more yet he can do, we must but wait patiently for him to reach his zenith and change, or die out, these are the only options open to us”
    “Will I survive him?”
    “Great Mother, you have outlived and surpassed many civilisations and creatures, and are well able to absorb this one, if you give yourself time, for I believe there are some of these “men” who are aware of your deep sadness, and are working to stop the damage. All you must do is to keep speaking to them in the words you know they will hear”.
    “Father sun, there is one creation that worries me. This “man” has found the black snake that lives deep within my soul. I thought I was able to keep him away from these “men” but no, they have used this snakeoil for their own means and development. They call it “civilisation” and it is destroying parts of my body as no other has done before. It was never meant to see the light, and is a destroyer of all natural beings.”
    “I know, and it hurts me to say that this ”man” has lost the connection with you, and cannot see beyond his blind belief in “civilisation”. I believe there are those who are actively working on your behalf now, to cut the tail of the snake, and prevent its growth in the world, and they are few, against many.”
    “I am aware of these softer creatures, who still love me, and keep vigil for my soul. I feel their care and attention and hope that more and more of them will support the fight to kill off this snake. “
    “Mother we can do little, we must continue, and pray that this “man” who still loves you will open his heart to the many and gradually the word will spread.”
    Mother Earth and Father Sun continued on their paths, and still do so, hoping that man will begin to love and cherish what was given freely so many years ago, in a sacred bond.

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