Morton County, ND – The Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, located on unceded land of the Sioux Nation under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, is a long-contested area and considered by the U.S. government to be property of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On November 25th, the Army Corps announced their intent to close the land containing the main #NoDAPL camp. Four days later, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple’s office floated a plan to cut off access to supplies to the water protector camps near Lake Oahe.
Yet, in a press conference on Wednesday, November 30, Governor Dalrymple reiterated that he has no intent of blockading roads or stopping vehicles to prevent supplies from reaching the camps.
“Supplies, including food and building materials, will be blocked from entering the main camp,” said Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department
Executive Order 2016-08 issued by Gov. Dalrymple on Nov. 28th stated:
“The general public is hereby notified that emergency services probably will not be available under current winter conditions.“
A video by the Indigenous Environmental Network responded to the moves by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple to try to close the Oceti Sakowin camp, stating that “Colonialism is alive and well in 2016.”
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) November 30, 2016
Later in the day on Wednesday, reports on social media indicated that the Morton County Sheriff has been pressuring area businesses such as an Ace Hardware franchise to refuse to sell materials to people they believe are bound for the camps.
— Ruth Hopkins ⚡️❤️⚡️ (@Ruth_HHopkins) December 1, 2016
Ace Hardware’s national office released a statement in the morning of Thursday, December 1st saying “Ace Hardware can now confirm that there is no ban on the sale of products at our locally-owned Ace stores” and that “As of Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. local time, Ace Hardware stores in Bismarck, N.D., are in-stock and selling 1 lb. propane canisters“.
Keenly aware of the past genocides carried out against their people, Tribal leaders warned the US Army Corps of Engineers and federal officials that their demand to evacuate treaty lands…
“continues the cycle of racism and oppression imposed on our people and our lands throughout history … I take your letter as issuing a direct and irresponsible threat to the water protectors. It appears to further empower the militarized police force that has been brutalizing and terrorizing our water protectors while imposing the blame and the risk on unarmed peaceful people.” – Harold Frazier, Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
The state’s choice of phrases such as “at their own risk” and “any and all… liabilities“, suggests that inalienable human rights have already been de-prioritized by North Dakota and Morton County.
Water protectors have been systematically brutalized by police, some hit with sonic and chemical weapons such as CS gas (which has been banned as a method of warfare), and detained in dog kennels. As food and medical services were directly targeted by Dalrymple and Morton County, conditions occurred near Standing Rock which reflect several of those noted in the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG) Section 6, “Genocidal Acts“:
“-Less obvious methods of destruction, such as the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival and which are available to the rest of the population, such as clean water, food and medical services
-Creation of circumstances that could lead to a slow death, such as lack of proper housing, clothing and hygiene or excessive work or physical exertion” – Office of the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, “Analysis Framework”
Many native people see the current maneuvers against them by North Dakota authorities as part of a long-established pattern of ongoing racism and genocidal intent. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Chase Iron Eyes told CNN in an interview:
“You have a government agency trying to declare us trespassers on our own treaty land and threatening to penalize us, criminally charge us and possibly forcibly round us up if we don’t return to the reservation. It’s very eerie and we’re trying to stay strong through all of this.” – Chase Iron Eyes
“Anybody who knows the history of law enforcement actions in the Dakotas, this is not unusual. But the magnitude of it is extreme“, Glen Morris, spokesman for the leadership council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, told the Guardian.
On Monday, November 28, the Water Protector Legal Collective filed suit in U.S. District Court over excessive force by the Morton County Sheriff and supporting law enforcement agencies, seeking an injunction against the use of Specialty Impact Munitions (SIM).
In the aftermath of World War II, the international community agreed to enforce prohibitions on genocidal state policies, a “crime under international law“. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (PDF), passed by the UN General Assembly in 1948 and entering into force in 1951, covers acts which are “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
The pipeline increases the risk of yet another genocide befalling the Dakota people. While its main commercial function is not the destruction of the people of Standing Rock, it is a tangible risk the project imposes: if the pipeline leaks it would at least cause their physical destruction in part, by poisoning their source of water. Among the “acts [that] shall be punishable” is “complicity in genocide“. Thus, any government officials who failed to prevent the project would also be liable for genocide, in the event of a leak.
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Below is Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the [#NoDAPL] anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:
March – May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the “Toxic Tour,” Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple’s email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People’s Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery
- November 8, Dakota Access Announces Plan to Drill Under Missouri River Within Weeks
- November 11, Dakota Access Pipeline Work Stopped As Water Protectors Storm Site; 30+ Arrested
- November 14, #NoDAPL Water Protectors March on ND State Capitol after Caravan Disrupts Construction
- November 14, Mississippi Stand Goes Inside Pipeline and Shuts Down DAPL Construction
- November 14, Army Corps Delays DAPL Easement
- November 15, “No More Stolen Sisters” Demonstration Blockades DAPL Man Camp; 25+ Arrests
- November 16, Despite Army Corps Statement, DAPL Moves Horizontal Drill to Missouri River Crossing
- November 17, Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody
- November 20, Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured
- November 21, Land Defense & Water Protection Actions Ripple Across Turtle Island
- November 22, Hundreds Target U.S. Army Corps Building in St. Paul w #NoDAPL Message
- November 22, Anonymous DDOS Munitions Vendor After Sheriffs Attack #NoDAPL
- November 22, #NoDAPL Water Protector Faces Possible Loss Of Her Arm After Police Attack
- November 24, Water Protectors Bridge onto Turtle Island; Mandan Thanksgiving Street Feast
- November 25, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Announces Intent to Close Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL Camp
- November 29, Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Morton County Sheriff for November 20 Bridge Assault