STANDING ROCK SIOUX TERRITORY — A spokesman for North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple says the governor has no intention of blocking food and supplies from coming into a camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline.
Dalrymple on Monday issued a “mandatory evacuation” for the camp “to safeguard against harsh winter conditions.”
Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent says the evacuation order has been “misconstrued” by some as giving authorities the ability to block food and supplies from coming in or out of the encampment. Zent says that is “not the governor’s intent.’’
However the evacuation order, posted Monday, calls for the potential prosecution for andy emergency services and other NGO’s providing services on those lands under the order for its duration.
Additionally, the FAA has ordered restricted airspace over the area of the main Oceti Sakowin camp — blocking documentation of potential clashes with police via drone cameras by anyone other than law enforcement officials.
Previous drone images captured viral images and video showing officers dousing singled out water protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures during an attack earlier this month.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman, Dave Archambault said, “this state executive order is a menacing action meant to cause fear, and is a blatant attempt by the state and local officials to usurp and circumvent federal authority. The USACE has clearly stated that it does not intend to forcibly remove campers from federal property.”
The Governor cited harsh weather conditions and a threat to human life as motive for issuing the evacuation order.
Archambault said, “If the true concern is for public safety than the Governor should clear the blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings. This is a clear stretch of state emergency management authority and a further attempt to abuse and humiliate the water protectors. The State has since clarified that they won’t be deploying law enforcement to forcibly remove campers, but we are wary that this executive order will enable further human rights violations.”
The Chairman called on the Army Corps to affirm their previous statement regarding no forcible removal.
On December 5th the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced they were closing all public lands north of the Cannonball River, where the main resistance camp, Oceti Sakowin, is located.
The letter states that the lands will be closed to public access for safety concerns, and that they will allow for a ‘free speech zone’ south of the Cannonball River on Army Corps lands.
Archambault said, “Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever. The best way to protect people during the winter, and reduce the risk of conflict between water protectors and militarized police, is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing, and deny it now.”