Robert Fool Bear Sr. is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. In fact, he’s a tribal leader, serving as the district chairman of Cannon Ball, the tribal community located just a few miles from the often unlawful and sometimes violent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
He says not everybody at Standing Rock is in support of the protests.
Fool Bear has had it with the protesters. He says that more than two years ago, when members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could have attended hearings to make their concerns known, they didn’t care. Now, suddenly, the crowds are out of control, and he fears it’s just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.
Go down to the camps, he says, and you won’t see many Standing Rock Sioux.
“It irks me. People are here from all over the world,” he says. “If they could come from other planets, I think they would.”
Not long ago, he found three teenage girls from Ontario, Canada, camped out inside his storage shed. A white woman from Spokane, Washington, came to see him for help, saying she’d come here with nothing and her car had broken down. When he was at the casino recently, someone approached him about two young kids who were on their own because their parents had been arrested.
The situation has dissolved to madness, he says, and he wishes Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman, would speak up.
“If he had any balls, he’d tell [the protesters] to go home,” Fool Bear says.
According to the article, Fool Bear says his community shot down a request from the protesters to build a winter camp there. Of the 88 people from the tiny community who voted, 66 were against the camp and less than 10 were for it.
This stands in stark contrast to the impression we’ve gotten from most media reports about the protests, which is that the Native American communities all stand in solidarity in favor of the protests and against the pipeline. That’s obviously not the case.
I don’t know what Mr. Fool Bear’s opinion of the pipeline is, but he’s clearly not in favor of the protests. And who can blame him, given how out of control they’ve gotten?
Meanwhile, Chairman Archambault seems to be backing off some of his more heated rhetoric towards law enforcement. Let’s hope it’s a trend which continues.