Camps Prepare as Federal Injunction Hearing Looms

Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, ND – Unicorn Riot returned to the site of ongoing demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The demonstrations peaked on August 15th (as seen below), when multiple direct actions forced work to be called off at the west Missouri river crossing site where construction had been slated to begin.

The Dakota Access Pipeline continues to be built in other parts of North Dakota.

While Unicorn Riot has been gone, many more people have come to the site of DAPL resistance. The Sacred Stone camp (a prayer camp set up in April to monitor pipeline construction) and another, newer overflow camp each shelters hundreds of occupants.

We spent time in the camps as both prepared for the August 24th hearing in Washington D.C., which will decide if an injunction on behalf of Standing Rock tribe against construction is approved in a Federal Court.

While the company has halted construction at this specific site while the injunction decision is pending, they stated they would only stop until the hearing, and would begin again if the injunction is dismissed.

Earlier in the week North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency. in the declaration the Governor stated,

I order total utilization of the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan (SEOP) in response to the situation, in order to assist local and tribal officials, to implement appropriate law enforcement actions and future mitigation measures to maintain peace and order, and to limit hardships and impacts caused by the emergency.

The governor’s declaration will allow more resources to be brought in for “mitigation” of the protests. A few days ago, the state of North Dakota removed water tanks and emergency teams which had been providing medical care at the camps.

While it is difficult to know what will be the effects of the federal injunction hearing in D.C., camp members prepared Tuesday by marching across Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bismarck, North Dakota.

They told Unicorn Riot that they wanted to make sure they were visible to people in the Capitol of North Dakota.Β  They want people to know the land defenders are peaceful, and that they have been praying for not only their own water, but for everyone’s water. They dropped banners over the side of the bridge that read, “We are Relatives, We are One, We are Water, #NODapl.”

After the demonstration, Unicorn Riot attended a public hearing held by Morton County Commission. The Commission opened the floor for the public to comment on the ongoing road restrictions that block access to Highway 1806 for anyone not local to the area.

Every speaker stated that the roadblocks were not necessary, and that the presence of roadblocks wrongly portrays the encampments as violent and in need of containment. One speaker said they felt the blocks have been adding to racial tensions in the area, as locals blame tribal members for the road obstructions.

We ended the night by returning to the Red Warrior Camp where a few hundred people moved steadily through multiple food lines. The sun set over the camp as people took turns taking a microphone and sharing stories.

According to the Standing Rock website, 87 tribes have issued support for the ongoing opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On August 24th, we’ll learn whose side the Federal Government will take.

For more information and context, we have followed this struggle since April 1st, 2016.

In April, a caravan of over 200 supporters, led by forty riders on horseback, left Fort Yates for a thirty mile trek to the camp located just north of Cannonball.

For a recap of this month’s action, see below.

For our coverage earlier this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.

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