DAPL camp closure anniversary

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Plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline, the protests against it, and its eventual construction dominated our news coverage as it was all unfolding. It was one year ago today that the Oceti Sakowin camp, one of the main staging areas for the protest movement in Morton County, was shut down.

Last year, the field was still the home of nearly 100 protesters awaiting the arrival law enforcement for one last confrontation.

Fire and ice sounds like something out of a fairy tale, but in southern Morton County it was a reality.

It was the conclusion of the historic seven month saga we know as the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

"This has never happened, never happened in North Dakota, and I don't think, it's never happened at this size in the United States," said Kyle Kirchmeirer, Morton County Sheriff.

Despite all of the outside noise, those at the heart of the movement are adamant that their motivation was consistent. Protecting water rights of indigenous people.

"What we have left isn't much, but it's our water, our lands and our rights, so we're going to stand up for them. When you're standing up for something as simple as water anything's possible," said Dave Archambault, former Standing Rock Tribal Chairman.

But there is no question that there were aspects of violence throughout.

"A peaceful and prayerful group there? Absolutely there was, but within that there was a very violent confrontational element," said Paul Laney, Cass County Sheriff.

"There are people that wanted to die. You know I heard that straight from some of the leaders in that camp that we're willing to die," said Scott Davis, Indian Affairs Commissioner.

Evidence shows however law enforcements worst fears were never fully realized.

"When we went through the camp, during that time we did not find any weapons, which was good, but that's not saying that there were never none there," said Kirchmeier.

While the North Dakota chapter of history ended on February 23rd, some hope it's not the end of the story.

"Maybe it took a pipeline to wake us up, and we're still kind of fuzzy eyed trying to figure out where we're at, but make no doubt this really woke up Indian country," said Davis.

After the camp was clean and cleared, law enforcement closed the gates with barbed wire and put up no trespassing signs. And if you weren't here to see it happen, you may never know that this was anything other than a field for grazing.