North Dakota – On Sunday, November 6, people protecting the water from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) held actions of varying militancy at three different locations.
Around 10 a.m. on Sunday, a group of several dozen water protectors drove into Bismarck and held a demonstration at the Fairview Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in the city. The cemetery was chosen as the site of the demonstration to highlight the desecration of ancient burial sites that has taken place during construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
Unicorn Riot was live for this event.
The water protectors at the cemetery spoke about how they came in prayer and although they were equipped with shovels, they would not dig up the remains of North Dakota’s ancestors.
Bismarck Police and Burleigh County Sheriff’s deputies were present in the road near the demonstration but did not approach or speak with the water protectors. About an hour after it began, the demonstration dispersed without any arrests.
At the same time a larger group also held a “Forgiveness Walk & Ceremony“ at the Morton County Law Enforcement Center in Mandan. The stated goal for those gathered was “to relieve themselves of burdens of bitterness and anger they may feel due to traumatic experiences with police.”
Meanwhile, on land near the Oceti Sakowin camp, another group of water protectors crossed the Cantapeta Creek (an offshoot of the Cannonball River) to set up camp on the land formation now referred to as “Turtle Island“.
A small group of water protectors began the action by canoeing across the creek and upturning four canoes to create a barricade against police attack. The group also erected barricades of driftwood on the east and west ends of the small beach to ensure the police would not be able to easily move towards them. They then began to ferry more water protectors across the creek, amassing nearly two hundred people on the beach head.
SWAT officers in boats churned the waters and launched tear gas canisters onto the beachhead. Water protectors wearing protective gear moved towards the canisters and neutralized them by covering them in mud.
As the numbers increased on the island, the crowd started to form a line and chanted to each other to move together and take the hill inch by inch. The mass of people advanced up the steep incline as law enforcement launched more tear gas into the crowd. When they neared the top, someone describing themselves as an elder appeared and shouted down those who had gathered. The crowd at first hesitated, but then began to join him as he told those gathered that they were desecrating those buried there. Some water protectors pointed up at the police who’d been stationed on the hill for days, and stated they were the ones desecrating the burial site.
One man, who claimed to speak on behalf of Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, said that the water protectors needed to disperse because tribal negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had led to a 30-day halt of all work on the Dakota Access Pipeline. As the man repeated this claim to the crowd, DAPL excavators could be seen digging across the river. Arguments ensued and the crowd eventually gave in to the wishes of the elders and moved back to the main Oceti Sakowin camp.
Currently, no evidence exists that a 30-day work stoppage on DAPL construction has been, or will be, ordered by any government agency. On Friday, an Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman told Mother Jones reporter Wes Enzinna that the 30-day pause was “only a proposal.” And as Common Dreams reported on Saturday, “There is no confirmation at this time from the Corps of Engineers nor from the Standing Rock Tribe that the 30-day buffer period will in fact go into effect.”
Construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline continued all day Sunday, and large booms could be seen lowering the pipeline into the ground that was formerly the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty camp.
Unicorn Riot will continue to regularly provide direct updates about resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Follow our media on Twitter, Facebook, and our website for more information surrounding the ongoing struggles against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle #NoDAPL 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