Kevin Gilbertt is a prominent #NoDAPL activst, and this morning he did a Facebook livestream from the Prairie Knights Casino – a facility owned by the Standing Rock Sioux which is near the site of the protest camps – during which he and another activist claimed that someone had rented all the rooms to deny protesters access to shelter.
Most of central North Dakota is going through some serious winter weather, and yesterday Governor Jack Dalrymple ordered protesters to evacuate unpermitted camps on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of the dangerous weather.
But per Gilbertt’s broadcast, the Prairie Knights Casino had no rooms to offer the protesters despite some donor apparently offering $12,000 to book a bloc of them. The rooms had already been booked, Glibertt and his fellow activists say, even though the hotel seemed largely empty.
Here’s the video, which is a little long and rambling (and features at least one weeping hippy):
UPDATE: It appears as though Mr. Gilbertt has removed his video since this post was published. I’ve reached out to him for an explanation.
UPDATE: I’ve replaced the original Facebook video with a copy someone uploaded to YouTube.
UPDATE: In a subsequent Facebook video Gilbertt now claims that some of his previous claims about the hotel were inaccurate, though he doesn’t specifically say what he got wrong.
They also claim in the video that the hotel’s elevators have been turned off at times, and that toilets and power outlets in the hotel’s public areas have been blocked.
Gilbertt said it all shows “just how far people are willing to go to make this as uncomfortable as possible.”
Again, the casino is owned by the Standing Rock tribe. If the tribe wanted to make rooms and other facilities available for protesters it seems like they could. That they aren’t might be another indication of dissension in the tribal ranks over the #NoDAPL movement.
Or it could just be a business decision. I don’t have any data, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe that the protests have hurt business as the casino already. Allowing the protesters to use casino/hotel facilities as a staging and support area would only likely further depress business.
But it’s worth keeping in mind that the casino has been host to multiple events supporting the #NoDAPL movement, including concerts and other gatherings.
As for the protesters needing shelter, maybe they should have prepared for the inevitability of the North Dakota winter. Everyone knew it was coming. That they apparently aren’t prepared for it is their fault.
Maybe they should just go home.