Yesterday the Army Corps of Engineers notified Congress that it is going to issue the easement for the contentious and heavily protested Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe. While the move may ultimately bring some closure to the issue, North Dakotan’s must wonder what the price all involved are going to have to pay on the interim.
While Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II has repeatedly asked remaining protesters to leave the Standing Rock Reservation – and for those who have left not to return – there still remains a faction of protesters. In fact, former Democratic candidate for U.S. House and Standing Rock protest figure, Chase Iron Eyes, was arrested a week ago with about 75 other protesters.
Now with the easement set to be issued to complete the pipeline under Lake Oahe, calls are going out for protesters to unite again "in solidarity with Standing Rock" against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Archambault himself has called for protesters to descend on their state’s Capitol’s and the nation’s Capitol:
“We call on the Native Nations of the United States to stand together, unite and fight back. Under this administration, all of our rights, everything that makes us who we are is at risk. Please respect our people and do not come to Standing Rock and instead exercise your First Amendment rights and take this fight to your respective state capitols, to your members of Congress, and to Washington, D.C.”
The Camp of the Sacred Stone has made the call for today to be a "Worldwide Call to Action". In addition to their worldwide call, their web site says that they understand the requests not to return to Standing Rock, but then they call for additional support for those remaining at the Sacred Stone Camp. They even warn to be prepared for "police violence, mass arrests, felony charges for just about anything, abuse while in custody, targeted persecution and racial profiling while driving around the area, etc."
In addition to these calls to action, the Earthjustice website says that a "march on Washington" is scheduled for March 10th where they call on "The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and tribes across the country [to] invite allies in America and from around the world to join the march."
All of this makes me wonder what kind of protest activity we are about to see now that the completion is imminent. I would imagine that the Bismarck-Mandan area will again have to endure some abuse from protest activity. For Morton County Police Department, Morton County residents, and especially those in the Standing Rock area, this could get ugly. My hope is that it doesn’t make what has already occurred look like child’s play.