Editor's note: The escalating standoff over the Dakota Access pipeline is becoming both militarized and politicized. The two converged on Sunday October 23 when water protectors cited treaty rights as they set up a camp directly in the path of the pipeline's construction. Below is a joint statement from the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone camps issued on Sunday October 23.
This morning, at approximately 8 a.m. central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd.
To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established three road blockades:
1. North of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806 ?
2. South of the Cannon Ball River, on Highway 1806 ?
3. And Immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134 ?
Police have discharged weapons , using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions.
This frontline camp is located on the final three 3 miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is 2 miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible.
Mekasi Camp-Horinek, an Oceti Sakowin camp coordinator states, “Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights. This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action. We are still staying nonviolent and we are still staying peaceful.”
Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer states, “We have never ceded this land. If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line.”
Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp, “We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka—we stand and face the storm.”