As Natives Declare Treaty Rights, Police Admit Defeat — Cite Lack of “Manpower” to Remove DAPL Protesters

dapl-protestersBy Jack Burns

Authorities in North Dakota may be feeling the heat from the international attention the Dakota Access Pipeline is getting. They’re now saying they lack the manpower to remove the encampment of protesters located on federal land near the controversial pipeline. The announcement may signal a softening of the treatment the protesters, up until now, have been receiving.

For months now, The Free Thought Project’s spotlight has been shining on the, some might say, dark and dirty deeds of law enforcement and their treatment of largely Native American peaceful protesters. Attack dogs were unleashed on the protesters in September, injuring six, and an additional 30 protesters, including children, were sprayed with pepper spray. In all, more than 260 people have reportedly been arrested since the protests began in Morton County — over 100 this weekend alone.

The sheriff’s office’s announcement comes just two days after The Free Thought Project encouraged readers to contact Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier’s office demanding him to allow for peaceful protest, even providing a link to a petition for his removal. Spokeswoman Donnell Preskey told The Associated Press the department doesn’t “have the manpower” to remove the more than 100 protesters from the property. “We can’t right now,” she said.

Preskey said the land belongs to a Texas-based firm, Energy Transfer Partners, and was purchased from a local rancher for an undisclosed price. According to the AP, the Native Americans claim the land is theirs by way of an, “1851 treaty and they won’t leave until the pipeline is stopped.” “We never ceded this land,” said protester Joye Braun.

“The $3.8 billion pipeline, most of which has been completed, crosses through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. Opponents worry about potential effects on drinking water on the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation and farther downstream on the Missouri River, as well as destruction of cultural artifacts,” writes the AP.

The disputed ranch is more than 100 years old and was the first one to be inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. According to the AP, “It is within a half-mile of a larger encampment on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ land where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of others have gathered in protest. Protesters do not have a federal permit to be on the Corps’ land, but the agency said it wouldn’t evict them due to free speech reasons. Authorities have criticized that decision, saying the site has been a launching point for protests at construction sites in the area.”

While the announcement by the Morton County Sheriff’s office may signal a change in tone and the potential for more relaxed police tactics, it remains to be seen. Late Monday, Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault II issued the following statement, calling on the Obama Administration’s U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the militant treatment of its peaceful protesters, and asked for an injunction to the pipeline’s construction. Archambault wrote:

The militarization of local law enforcement and enlistment of multiple law enforcements agencies from neighboring states is needlessly escalating violence and unlawful arrests against peaceful protestors at Standing Rock. We do not condone reports of illegal actions, but believe the majority of peaceful protestors are reacting to strong-arm tactics and abuses by law enforcement.

Thousands of water protectors have joined the Tribe in solidarity against DAPL, without incident or serious injury. Yet, North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to their nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal.

We are disappointed to see that our state and congressional delegations and Gov. Jack Dalrymple have failed to ensure the safety and rights of the citizens engaged in peaceful protests who were arrested on Saturday. Their lack of leadership and commitment to creating a dialogue towards a peaceful solution reflects not only the unjust historical narrative against Native Americans, but a dangerous trend in law enforcement tactics across America.

For these reasons, we believe the situation at Standing Rock deserves the immediate and full attention of the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, the DOJ should impose an injunction to all developments at the pipeline site to keep ALL citizens – law enforcement and protestors – safe. The DOJ should be enlisted and expected to investigate the overwhelming reports and videos demonstrating clear strong-arm tactics, abuses and unlawful arrests by law enforcement.

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The chairman’s request seems to validate many of the reports coming from the field, that peaceful protesters are being labeled as rioters and are not being treated with the dignity they feel they deserve. As The Free Thought Project reported two days ago, many of the protesters are being thrown to the ground, squashed underfoot, strip-searched, and forced to remove sacred hair braids — all considered “strong-arm tactics, abuses, and unlawful,” by Archambault.

Jack Burns writes for, where this article first appeared.

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20 Comments on "As Natives Declare Treaty Rights, Police Admit Defeat — Cite Lack of “Manpower” to Remove DAPL Protesters"

  1. Confusing but it seems the biggest question should be who’s land is it?

    • The Creator’s…

      • Get frelling real

      • Jefferson and Tom Paine both wrote that the nature (land/rivers/ mineral wealth/forests, etc) that was created belongs to humanity in common. Those who exploit it for profit owe the community rent for using community resources.

        Or did God give the land to the slave owners (95% of signers of Constitution were slave owners) ?

        The land, at root, belongs to the natives, who also owned in communally. I propose we give it back…or at least pay for it.

    • I bet it was sold for a few blankets and Guns so they could be used for a short time until they were unable to get any bullets and were then attacked by the Christian Warriors with a good supply of Guns.

  2. This proves that if enough dedicated protesters show up & don’t back down…the corporate imposed Police State’s last resort of overtly militarized, heavy-handed tactics by their psycho mercenary ‘knuckle-dragging’ goons.. is eventually sterilized with sunlight…much like the same tactics employed by Gandhi.
    …when he was asked what he thought about western civilization?…He replied: “I think it would be a good idea”

    • I agree. It also proves that to be changeably effective the violence of the perpetrators (private security personnel, etc.) can only be neutralized in a sustainable method by doing the exact opposite: By using heart, brains and commonsense cycles of violence can be stopped. It also highlights the need for a free press.

  3. The main question is who is bank rolling these people??

    • They are being supported by their own efforts and those who support their crusade for justice. We know who is supporting the pipeline deal: government in collusion with private interests whose only motive is profit.

      • The only beneficiary is inside trader billionaire Warren Buffet, it your’e following the money, He also funded Hillary Clinton along with George Soros who also funded bombing of the BOSTON MARATHON which is comon knowledge of the CIa and the FBI but like Hillary are all still free.

        • Evidence? BTW, far right websites are not credible sources. It’s amazing that you have inside knowledge of both the secretive FBI and the CIA. What are your sources, Ernie?

      • Outstanding comment. Too few know about these issues and how they came about.

  4. Trump blasts Obamacare, which he formerly supported, claiming he was also against it. Why then was the registeredDemocrat give hundreds of thousands to Reid and Pelosi?

    ” In 2010 — immediately after the passage of Obamacare — Trump continued to donate to Reid. Trump has donated at least $10,400 to Reid, including $4,800 for his 2010 race against Sharron Angle — a victory that helped keep the Senate in Democratic hands and Reid as majority leader. So Trump continued to support Reid as majority leader in the election immediately after the passage of Obamacare.

    In his home state of New York, Trump also donated disproportionately to Democrats. The Post reported in 2011 that “The biggest recipient of all has been the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York, which has taken in more than $125,000 from Trump and his companies. Overall, Trump has given nearly $600,000 to New York state campaigns, with more than two-thirds going to Democrats.” He even boasted of it. “So, what am I going to do, contribute to Republicans?” he told Fox News’S Sean Hannity. “I mean, one thing I’m not stupid.”

    Now Trump is on TV claiming he always opposed the ACA, tho he gave Big Money to the Democrats who rammed it through! He is not stupid; he knows that his poorly educated supporters are too stupid to look up the facts.

    That said, why are all the supporters of the pipeline protesters from the left. Where are the libertarians, the patriots of the right?

    • I remember many democrats who switched parties when it was hijacked by Bush senior and George Soros Novis Ordo Seclorum New world order. The EU is actually an Adolf Hitler (Socialist wet dream). Collectivism is also extremely racist as was Hitler, Stalin, Marx, Pol Pot & Soetoro alias Obama. No form of socialism has ever succeeded anywhere ever, it has always run out of other peoples money as the productive those who work for a living are taxed to extremes to support the non productive who only vote for a living because elected officials are willing & allowed to steal from the electorate. THE OVER TAXED WILL ALWAYS MOVE TO A MORE SANE COUNTRY. TRUMP IS AMERICA’S ONLY HOPE, HE IS ALSO THE ONLY NON POLITICAL PARASITE IN THE RUNNING ABLE TO TURN AROUND THE USA, HE HAS BUILT HIS FORTUNE BUYING UP AND REABILITATING BANKRUPT CORPORATIONS LIKE THE USA .

  5. I think the Governor of North Dakota is holding the native peoples (who are demonstrating which is their right under the US Constitution), in contempt. It might be worthwhile for the voters in the State to remember his lack of empathy for Constitutional rights at the next election.

  6. Idiot Culture can (again) learn something from the courage/tenacity of the few surviving members of the owners of Sewer Nation’s ill-gotten holdings. Simple cognizant thought.
    Know that all members of Idiot Culture are not standing against you and justice.
    Three cheers!

  7. Anyone got a good source that explains some of the history behind this 1851 treaty and/or any subsequent relevant land disputes in the area?

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