On October 27, 2016, hundreds of law enforcement, people in military garb, and military-style vehicles pushed back on the water protectors at the Cannon Ball Ranch encampment in North Dakota protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Following a day of Facebook live feeds and posturing by North Dakota officials, statements were released by the Standing Rock Sioux tribal representative. Several groups also issued statements that they supported Standing Rock.
No statement has yet been issued by federal officials. A general statement was issued by one of the presidential candidates, reported on here.
Statement from Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today. we continue to pray for peace. We call on the state of North Dakota to oversee the actions of local law enforcement to, first and foremost, ensure everyone’s safety. The Department of Justice must send overseers immediately to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights and the safety of thousands here at Standing Rock. DOJ can no longer ignore our requests. If harm comes to any who come here to stand in solidarity with us, it is on their watch. They must step in and hold the state of North Dakota and Morton County accountable for their acts of violence against innocent, prayerful people.
The Obama administration has asked DAPL to voluntarily halt construction until the review process has been completed, but DAPL has ignored these repeated requests. By deploying law enforcement to support DAPL construction, the State of North Dakota is collaborating with Energy Transfer Partners and escalating tensions.
We need our state and federal governments to bring justice and peace to our lands, not the force of armored vehicles.
We have repeatedly seen a disproportionate response from law enforcement to water protectors’ nonviolent exercise of their constitutional rights. Today we have witnessed people praying in peace, yet attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound and concussion cannons. We urge state and federal government agencies to give this tense situation their immediate and close attention.
We also call on the thousands of water protectors who stand in solidary with us against DAPL to remain in peace and prayer. Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here. We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision — the moral decision — is made to project our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources. We won’t step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.
Statement by National Nurses United
National Nurses United on Thursday sharply condemned police and armed guard attacks on members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, other First Nations, environmental activists, and other protectors who have bravely participated in protests against the Dakota Access pipeline project.
Reports of police using pepper spray, military grade equipment, and other military style tactics follow physical attacks on protesters by armed security guards who have who have used dogs in ways reminiscent of assaults on peaceful protesters during the Civil Rights movement, as well as arrests of media covering the protests.“This has become a seminal battle over the First Amendment protection of public protest. It is also a challenge for everyone who is concerned about the rights of First Nation people and their sacred sites and water sources, as well as the threat the pipeline poses to environmental degradation, public health, and to accelerating the climate crisis,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.
NNU, through its Registered Nurse Response Network, a national network of volunteer RNs, has deployed nurse volunteers to assist with first aid needs for the land and water protectors. NNU remains committed to continuing that program in support of the DAPL protests as needed, said Ross.
“We are proud of those who are raising their voices for all of us. We are gratified to see the many public figures, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have stood with the Standing Rock Sioux and other protectors, as well as our union brothers and sisters in the Communications Workers of America, Amalgamated Transit Union, American Postal Workers Union, and Service Employees International Union who have also expressed solidarity for this historic fight,” Ross added.
NNU voiced its support for the protectors in early September, and also challenged claims that pipelines are a way to ensure safety of the transport of dirty, polluting crude oil.
“Contrary to claims of supporters, pipeline transportation of this volatile oil is far from safe. We have already witnessed many examples of pipeline spills from ruptured pipelines that have contaminated water supplies and led to numerous problems of respiratory ailments and other health symptoms associated with the spills,” Ross said.
National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history. For more information, visit the CNA/NNU website.
Statement by Greenpeace
The 2,000 water protectors who have gathered to oppose the pipeline’s construction were today met by the Morton County Sheriff Department, who removed people and their camping gear. In response, Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard said:
“Greenpeace stands in solidarity with and lends full support to the water protectors at Standing Rock, and we recognize the rights and sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux, accorded by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. We call on President Obama to use his executive power to revoke the permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline immediately. And we reject the actions of North Dakota law enforcement in favoring the interests of Energy Transfer Partners and the fossil fuel industry over the rights of this land’s inhabitants. We join in proclaiming the sacred power of water and the responsibility we have to protect it at all costs. And we urge our government to respect the sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux, whose constitutional right to peacefully protest has been unjustly met by a militarized police force.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct threat to the life, rights, and water of the Standing Rock Sioux. It is unconscionable that a militarized force was deployed to serve a massive pipeline to move dirty, fracked oil that would threaten our climate and the life-sustaining water of the Missouri River. And, despite law enforcement’s effort to jam video feeds coming out of the camps today, seeing those forces moving against Indigenous people will only galvanize the public rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline and all it stands for.
“The Dakota Access pipeline is a direct violation of the sovereign rights and culture of the Standing Rock Sioux, placing serious risk to the nation’s water supply, violating federal trust responsibilities guaranteed through treaties with the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota tribes, and desecrating sacred burial, religious, and other historical sites. The fast-track process of approval disregarded key U.S. legislation, including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, and offered no proper Environmental Impact Statement or substantive tribal consultation.”
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