North Dakota Threatens to Cut Off Supplies to #NoDAPL Camp, Army Corps to Close Land

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.

A Reuters report said at 2:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday:

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.

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.

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

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016