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article imageOp-Ed: DAPL protesters will stand their ground at Standing Rock

By Karen Graham     Nov 27, 2016 in Politics
It looks like a new line has been drawn in the sand between DAPL water protectors and the federal government in North Dakota. The latest shot fired by the feds — an eviction notice — was met with a defiant statement: "We will not be moved."
For months now, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, along with thousands of people from around the world have been camped at the Oceti Sakowin encampments in North Dakota, joined in heart and spirit in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In that time, over 535 people have been arrested because of what the government calls increasingly aggressive demonstrations by the protesters, reports CTV News. And water protectors won't be getting any apologies from anyone in governmental authority for the brutal tactics that have been used against them, either.
"We are just not going to allow people to become unlawful," said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, "It's just not going to happen." Kirchmeier was elected sheriff about two years ago and has the backing of the state's Republican governor and attorney general.
Kirchmeier has not had a day off since August, according to the Virginian-Pilot Online, and has been working 12-hour days alongside his 34 deputies, with help from over 1,200 officers from North Dakota and nine other states.
What is not mentioned is the time spent by protesters on the front lines of the NoDAPL movement. While law enforcement personnel go home to clean beds in warm houses, water protectors go back to an encampment filled with tents, yurts, and sleeping bags. The conditions are harsh, with freezing cold and rain or snow, compared to what most Americans are familiar with.
But in addition to law enforcement's terror tactics used last Sunday night, when water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets injured hundreds of people, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers eviction notice issued the day after Thanksgiving, threatening to arrest anyone who had not vacated the encampment by December 5, the Standing Rock coalition has taken a firm stand.
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Sacred Stone Camp
In a Coalition Statement issued from the Sacred Stone camp on Sunday, November 27, the coalition stated: "The Army Corps has no authority to evict us from these lands. The Oceti Sakowin encampment is located on the ancestral homeland of the Lakota, Mandan, Arikara, and Northern Cheyenne — on territory never ceded to the U.S. government, and affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land belonging to the Great Sioux Nation. The encampment is, in many respects, a reclamation of this stolen territory and the right to self-determination guaranteed in the treaties."
The statement also adds, "The Army Corps’s eviction notice is an aggressive threat to Indigenous peoples. It further empowers and emboldens a militarized police force that has already injured hundreds of unarmed, peaceful water protectors, and continues to escalate its tactics of brutality against us. It adds fuel to the fire of an ongoing human rights crisis."
The coalition is calling on President Obama to put an end to the militarized police response to what is and has been a peaceful movement. They want all permits associated with the DAPL revoked and all DAPL construction workers removed. Pointing out that the lands in question belong to the Great Sioux Nation, the coalition wants a "FULL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT IN FORMAL CONSULTATION WITH IMPACTED TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS."
This is not too much to ask of a government that for centuries has oppressed and denigrated Native American people. Standing Rock Sioux also ask that all of us stand with them in this ongoing human rights crisis.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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