As I mentioned in a post yesterday evening I’m hearing some rumblings that we may get some movement this week on a federal response to #NoDAPL protesters camping without a permit on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land.
Hopefully that happens, for the sake of the rule of law, and hopefully the protesters leave those camps more peacefully than they left a camp on private land and an illegal highway blockade last week.
But an organization which has been helping to coordinate assistance from other states for North Dakota cops responding to the protests alleged in a letter last week that there may be a coordinated effort to stop any federal action.
You can read the entire October 27 letter, signed by NSA executive director Jonathan F. Thompson, below. It was sent to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Here’s the key excerpt:
There has been plenty of criticism of the federal government’s response – or, more specifically, lack thereof – to the often illegal and sometimes violent #NoDAPL protests.
“If that camp was full of people advocating for fossil fuels, they would have been removed by now,” North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer told The Associated Press a month ago. “There is some discretionary enforcement going on.”
A spokesman for the NSA confirmed to me that they are referring to Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault’s sister Jodi Gillette.
The Bismarck Tribune highlighted the connection between Archambault and the White House in a 2013 article about his election to the position of tribal chairman:
Archambault has a personal — if not political — asset in high places. His sister, Jodi Gillette, is the senior policy adviser for Native American affairs for President Barack Obama. Gillette cannot work on issues related to Standing Rock, because her status as a tribal member — and now sister of the new chairman — makes it a conflict of interest. However, Archambault said the two siblings can, and do, bounce ideas off each other, and she may be able to guide him in the right direction.
Gillette worked for the Obama campaign here in North Dakota in 2008, generating what has been described as “record turnout” in Indian country for the president. Gillette said her position in the Obama administration after the campaign was invented for her by the president.
“My role is completely the invention of this President,” she said in 2014. “My role really is to advise the President and the senior staff on Native American needs, issues, and challenges. That is something that had never existed before.”
Gillette left the Obama administration 2015 to take a job as a lobbyist. She lists many Native American tribes as her clients, including Standing Rock. On social media she has been outspoken in favor of the #NoDAPL protesters, and lists her employer as the Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry law firm which has offices in Washington D.C., Alaska, New Mexico, and California.
I’ve reached out to Gillette via email and Facebook message for comment on the letter from the National Sheriff’s Association. She has not responded, but I will certainly update the post when or if I hear back.
Here’s the full letter.
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