Just one day after Thanksgiving, the Army Corps of Engineers took a stand on the protest going on at Standing Rock. District Commander John W. Henderson addressed the email to #standing rock sioux tribal chairman, David Archambault and stated that authorities plan to close the area north of the Cannonball River, including the Oceti Sakowin camp.
Corps of Engineers claim safety reasons for closing land
According to the email that was linked in a New York Times report, Henderson went on to state that the decision to close the land was for safety reasons. He asked that everyone be removed by December 5th, or they could face trespassing violations. Another area was offered as a “free speech” zone and protesters are being encouraged to move to this site..
Standing Rock protesters have been in this area for several months, protesting a pipeline that is to be taken under the Missouri river near the reservation. Native Americans fear that the pipeline will contaminate the water that they depend on and that construction of the pipeline will destroy their sacred grounds.
Protests have turned violent at the Dakota pipeline over the months as police and protestors have faced-off against each other. Police have resorted to tear gas and water grenades. Many have been injured and hospitalized.
Henderson stated in the email, that due to the harsh winter conditions in the Dakotas, he feared for the safety of all involved as it would be difficult for any emergency personnel to attempt any medical rescues that became necessary.
Will a change in location be any safer, or provide easier access?
Archambault not surprised by eviction from protest camp
According to the Huffington Post, the tribal chairman is not surprised by this latest action on the part of the government. He has called on President Obama once again, to end this stand-off at Standing Rock and deny access to the pipeline or force them to reroute the pipeline away from the tribal water supply. Energy Transfer Partners states that they will not halt or reroute the project and they believe they are well within their rights.
If being bombarded with water cannons in 20-degree weather hasn’t stopped the protesters from protecting their water supply, will a mere email make them pack up and relocate? Many more protesters continue to arrive in support of the pipeline protest, including a group of veterans. How will authorities possibly handle the removal of so many Native Americans and their supporters? Will that not just escalate the violence even more? #Black Friday #Dakota Pipeline