APTN National News
The Tribal chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says it’s time for the Oceti Sakowin camp to be dismantled and for people to head home.
“We deeply appreciate all the people who supported us with their presence,” said Dave Archambault in a statement issued Tuesday. “But when this storm passes, it is time to dismantle the camp and return to our homes.”
Archambault said if the camp stays where it is currently located, people would be risking their lives.
But not everyone is prepared to leave. A post on the Oceti Sakowin facebook page thanked water protectors and added that anyone who wanted to stay could.
A post on the Oceti Sakowin facebook page thanked water protectors and added that anyone who wanted to stay could.
“Our first concern is safety. We ask all who can and want to leave, to return home. For those who can stay—and are prepared for arctic conditions—please do, we need people here.”
The camp started at the beginning of April when North Dakota approved this leg of the 1,800 kilometre pipeline that runs from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois.
It started with dozens of people, and eventually became a small city with thousands of people from across the United States and Canada.
Chase Iron Eyes, who is from Standing Rock and recently ran unsuccessfully ran for United States Congress said he “respectfully disagrees” with Archambault’s call for people to go home. In his own release sent Wednesday, Iron Eyes said people can’t let their guard down.
“Every tool right now that we have at our disposal needs to go to keeping our protectors safe right now and keeping them on the ground,” he said in the statement.
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard who is also from Standing Rock and started the Sacred Stone Camp shared the Tribal Chair’s statement on her Facebook page and added her own thoughts.
“Shame,”she wrote above the statement. In another post, “we are standing we will not move until the black snake is dead.”
Archambault believes a new administration will not easily be able to reverse Sunday’s historic decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
On Sunday, USACE decided not to grant an easement allowing a multi-state pipeline to cross beneath Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River from where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe draws its drinking water.
Instead, the Corps said there would be a further environmental study and the exploration of alternate routes to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“This decision is everything we had asked for,” said Archambault.
He believes Energy Transfer Partners will face an uphill battle trying to dismantle the process initiated by this decision.
“This next stage will be focused on legal battles, and keeping the current decision in place,” said the statement.
On Monday, Dakota Access LLC filed a motion in a United States District Court seeking a declaration that it has a legal right-of-way to construct, operate and maintain an oil pipeline beneath federal land at Lake Oahe.
In documents filed in court, the company said it is losing millions of dollars a day and has asked for a quick ruling.
In its own statement, Energy Transfer Partners said they are fully committed to ensuring that “this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of a pipeline without any additional rerouting.”
Still, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling for a strategy to close and exit the camp.
“Let everyone know that we are thankful for their passion and commitment and we are thankful for them all standing with us. It’s time now to enjoy this winter with your families. We need all to respect the host tribe’s wishes,” said Archambault’s statement.