The often violent and often unlawful #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline made David Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, something of a national and even international celebrity. He appeared on national television shows. He’s been on something of a lecture tour of college campuses and other venues. He even visited a United Nations event in Geneva.
But last night his fellow tribal members voted him out of office, and it wasn’t even close.
According to not-yet-official results shared with me, Archambault’s opponent Mike Faith nearly doubled the incumbent’s vote total:
- Mike Faith – 1082
- Dave Archambault – 628
A SAB reader who is a prominent and politically active member of the Standing Rock Tribe told me that the protests were a campaign issue, though not a very big one. More important was how the protests impacted Archambault’s ability to work with non-tribal leaders.
“It’ll be a good reset button for my tribe,” my source told me. “Dave lost all his political capital with North Dakota and South Dakota and [Washington] D.C.”
Archambault was first elected as chairman of the tribe in 2013, defeating the same Mike Faith who defeated him last night.
In 2016 Archambault plunged his tribe into protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline and invited activists from around the country to come and join the resistance. Months later, though, he seemed to regret that move expressing chagrin at how the dirty and poorly managed protest camps were impacting the land.
Archambault may have made himself the darling of left-wing activists around the country, but his fellow tribal members have said they’d rather have someone else lead them.
UPDATE: Faith tells the Associated Press that the #NoDAPL protests caused the tribe to “neglect our own.”
Faith, who used to manage the tribe’s buffalo herd and work as a ranger in its wildlife department, has been on the Tribal Council for a total of 18 years. He said he personally opposes the pipeline but thinks the large-scale protest took focus away from other issues, including health care, education, elderly needs, suicide problems, illegal drugs and a poor economy.
“We kind of neglected our own” by taking the lead on the pipeline protest, he said. “We did what we had to do, but we didn’t realize we were going to hurt our economy that much.”