For some time now, as we’ve watched the attacks from activists on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline intensify, I’ve heard that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which organized the original protest had lost control.
In fact an anti-pipeline activist who left the #NoDAPL protest camps, complaining of “lawlessness” there, told me there were factions in the protest movement who have engaged in trespass and vandalism that is not condoned by the Standing Rock Tribe, but the tribe won’t criticize them publicly because they fear the protest movement appearing to be something other than unified.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I have spoken with him regularly and it’s clear that he has reached a point where he wishes it would remain 100 percent peaceful, but he’s told me many, many times that he is no longer in control in the camp or in any way over the protesters,” Dalrymple told talk radio host Scott Hennen.[/mks_pullquote]
But today Governor Jack Dalrymple said today that Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault has told him he is not in control of the protests.
“I have spoken with him regularly and it’s clear that he has reached a point where he wishes it would remain 100 percent peaceful, but he’s told me many, many times that he is no longer in control in the camp or in any way over the protesters,” Dalrymple told KFYR talk radio host Scott Hennen in an interview this morning.
Listen to the full audio below.
I reached out to the spokesman for the tribe for a response to Dalrymple’s comments but he didn’t immediately return an email or phone message. I’ll update the post when/if they respond.
Update: Archambault denies saying he has lost control.
Thousands of people from dozens of Native American tribes and environmental activist groups have settled into multiple camps in south central North Dakota, with some of the most problematic camps existing without permit on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. Tribal leaders, including Archambault, have insisted that the protests have been peaceful, yet more than 120 people have been arrested at multiple protest incidents some of which have turned violent.
Most of those arrested have come to the protest camps from out of state.
Yesterday Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, who is assisting the Morton County Sheriff’s Department during the protests, described what he called a “riot” which resulted in the arrest of some 23 people including actress Shailene Woodley.
In some ways this makes me feel sad for the tribe. While I don’t agree with their activism against the pipeline, I hate to see their efforts tarnished by political extremists who have co-opted the tribe’s cause.
Then again, it’s not like the tribe has done anything to condemn or expel those factions within the protest movement which are guilty of the unlawful protest activities.