The tension between authorities and activists protesting North Dakota’s proposed Dakota Access Pipeline reached a boiling point on Thursday as police advanced on one of the protesters’ camps and began making arrests in a massive show of force.
According to reports from the ground, police announced on Thursday morning that protesters occupying a newly erected camp built on private property would need to vacate the premisses or face arrest. In response, a group of activists surged toward the advancing police phalanx in an effort to block Highway 1806. In a Facebook post, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department stated that some protesters had lit tires on fire as a makeshift blockade against the encroaching law enforcement forces.
Speaking with the Huffington Post, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Dallas Goldtooth claimed that an unspecified number of protesters had been arrested by 2 PM.
The clash comes at a site just north of the anti-pipeline activists’ main encampment. A release put out by the MCSD claimed that it was an “illegal road block along Highway 1806 and County Road 134.”
On Wednesday police demanded protesters abandon the new campsite, but to no avail, setting the stage for Thursday’s showdown. According to the sheriff’s office, “numerous counties, cities, state agencies and out-of-state law enforcement are supporting Morton County in this mission.”
That wide array of state power was evident in the assortment of officers—some clad in riot gear—and vehicles, which included trucks, busses, and military humbles, on hand to evacuate the camp. Additionally, the Seattle Times reported that a helicopter was seen assessing the protesters’ blockade from the air. According to “Democracy Now,” the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary no-fly-zone over the protesters’ camp, stopping their ability to use drones to monitor police activity nearby.
Protests in North Dakota over the oil pipeline have been going on for months, spearheaded by native residents of the Standing Rock reservation, which claims the controversial construction threatens their sacred land and water reserves. Proponents of the pipeline contend that it will reduce the oil industry’s environmental impact in the area, by lessoning the need to ship crude by rail or road.
Clashes between protesters and law enforcement have ratcheted up in recent weeks, with over 120 activists reportedlyarrested on Monday alone. Despite the police action on Thursday, protesters seemed steadfast in their mission to disrupt and call attention to the pipeline’s construction.
“We are not just small ethnic groups, we are sovereign nations. We have a relationship that supersedes states and corporations as sovereign nations” Dallas Goldtooth, Dakota Organizer #OcetiRising ,#HonorTheTreaties, #NoKXL, #IdleNoMore
Being around Saami people typically causes one to reevaluate their understanding of what it means to be INDIGENOUS.
Many dirty blond and blue eyed, they eat reindeer and smoked salmon. They have traditional lodges that look like tipis. They were persecuted for being different, their language was outlawed, many Sami women were sterilized, they faced forced education, etc etc..
Now they have their own Parliament. They have language immersion schools. They are making their voices heard in the region, ensuring that their inherent rights as indigenous people do not go overlooked nor forgotten.
“These are the shoes that are going to stop this pipeline,” says Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska who appeared on #edshow with Dallas Goldtooth [@g0ldtooth]. “We have boots and moccasins on the ground and we are serious." (source)
A little love to all you Indigenous ladies, courtesy of the 1491’s… This will definitely make your day (I hope). Native Love by Dallas Goldtooth: “Its belated. Valentines Day is past. So chock it up as Indian Time. hehe. This is a short video showing love and recognition to all Native women in our lives. They are the carriers of our culture, the keepers of the flame. We love them beyond all possibility. We cherish them Indian girls. They our buddies. our loves. our morning. our moon. our past. We love you ladies."
[IMAGE: Dallas Goldtooth, a veteran organizer of the Keystone XL fight, is amazed at the historic support from nations at Standing Rock–even nations that rely on resource extraction.]
This year’s massive buildup of resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline follows closely on the heels of the victory over Keystone XL pipeline, something often credited to feverish organizing by 350.org. But years before 350’s involvement, there was the Indigenous Environmental Network, which launched that movement and its “Keep It In the Ground” messaging. This time, with nearly 200 nations unified behind the Standing Rock
Očhéthi Šakówiŋ’s opposition to the pipeline and more than 3,000 people gathered at the Standing Rock reservation, Natives are clearly leading the movement.
The encampment at Standing Rock are filled with prayers and ceremonies, and the spiritual core to this movement gives it resilience and power. The courage and clarity of the stand to protect our water is attracting support across the nation and around the world.
I came to Standing Rock to cover the arrival of [traditional] Northwest canoes and stayed for the rulings Friday on whether construction of the pipeline can continue. I spoke to Dallas Goldtooth, a veteran of the Keystone XL movement, on a hill overlooking the camp. Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota and Dińe) is the ‘Keep It In The Ground’ campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“There is absolutely nothing funny about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Except when white guys in a European hair metal band make a song about it, and a video. But we say (but not often) whatever the white man can do, we can do better. Enjoy… your life might never be the same after this.”
I love these guys, they’re so funny. I am very glad I had the chance to meet Migizi, Bobby, and Dallas.