- Over 70 Water Protectors Arrested Including Indigenous Leader Chase Iron Eyes
- New Treaty Lands Camp Taken Down Only Hours After Setting Up
- Protectors Were Approached By Armed Militarized Police, Shields, National Guard, Helicopters and LRAD.
- Main Camp Was Not Raided But Was Surrounded By Police At Northern Gate
During today's resistance actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline a group of water protectors, medics and activists were surrounded by police after they set up a new camp on a hill late last night in what they believed was accessible property that would be protected under the terms of it being 1851 and 1868 treaty lands. Campers at the main Oceti Oyate camp were initially surprised to see National Guard and military vehicles approaching the northern gate which caused some panic and concern at the beginning. Police then approached the newer camp and had activists tear down their tipis before vans hauled them off to Morton County Jail, charged with trespassing. As of 9:18 MST at least 76 arrests have been made including that of Chase Iron Eyes and more are being processed every moment; we called Morton County Police to verify the count but they told us that not everyone had been booked yet and couldn't confirm.
Why Was There A New Camp On The Hill?
The new camp was set up just on the outskirts of the main Oceti Oyate camp near Standing Rock to further expand their resistance efforts and was inspired by the legacy of Crazy Horse. As water protectors and activists understand, the easement for drilling will one day be made and until that day comes they would like to try anything they can within their legal means, or outside of their legal means to resist what they believe is oppressive behavior and some even consider this a form of "cultural genocide" to not allow Standing Rock Tribe Members the ability to temporarily lay claim of treaty territories whilst the state seemingly gives away land to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Chase Iron Eyes was among the 70+ arrested during today's actions and had this to say on his personal social media page: "In honor of the Last Child Warrior Society, the only such society created by Crazy Horse we are asking all frontliners in camp to come to the high ground west of the Oceti camps to put out a call for others to join this stand. It's time brothers & sisters. Our conscience won't let us back down. In the spirit of Crazy Horse."
"I won't diminish anyone's struggle. I won't tell them to calm down. I will be honored to stand next to them. They gave up their lives, their families, their comforts, jobs, college, they travelled 1000s of miles with the clothes on their backs, they have sacrificed and they are ready to face the enemy. This is an unarmed revolution." - Chase Iron Eyes
There are conflicting reports about the initial understanding of the who owns the property. Water protectors dispute this argument citing the lands that Oceti Oyate are on fall under the same property as the the hillside on the other side of Highway 1806. Whether or not treaty lands still hold any legal value is another conversation that tribes need to work out with the government but what is clear were Chase's intentions to assemble a peaceful and prayerful resistance on top of the hill, safe from the floodplains and near the main camp. The police claim the water protectors gathered on private property and had them take down their own tipis before they were arrested.
Militarized Police Approach North Gate Of Main Camp
Morton County Police and Stutsman County arrived later that day along with the National Guard, helicopters, LRADS and "non-lethal" weapons loaded just feet away from the main camp's front gate initially setting panic for those nearby. Angie Spencer of We Are The Media asked the police "are you trying to incite a riot?" to which police explained "we are not coming any further this direction" and set up a police barricade between them and water protectors on the west side of Highway 1806 directly on the road.
The activists and protectors responded with their questions for police and there was some confrontation but there was mostly a lot of strength and optimism. Some danced, drummed, sang and held ceremony while others burned sage, prayed and dropped tobacco on the ground for their friends, family members and allies who were being carried off by vans just on the other side of the wall of officers.
Water Protectors Are Still Needing Legal Help
Over 600 people have been charged by prosecutors for trying to defend the Cannonball River. The Water Protector Legal Collective has been working diligently to defend and clear these activists of any wrong-doing and while some have been cleared, others are being found guilty which is why need to ensure they are given all the resources possible. You can support the legal collective on their fundraising page here.