The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement saying they are not associated with the people who attempted to establish a new camp on private land late Tuesday night.
The tribe claims these campers put the Standing Rock cause and peoples’ lives at risk and are asking people not to return to the camp.
Statement from Chairman Dave Archambault II
Last night, a group of campers moved materials onto private land. This group’s actions do not represent the tribe nor the original intent of the water protectors. If we are to fight for treaty rights, then we must all work together. Tribes came to Standing Rock in support of our tribe’s effort with the recognition that it will reflect back on us all. This type of action was not undertaken in that spirit, because instead of empowering us, it undermines us.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allies have been leading the battle in federal court to protect our treaty rights. Not just our tribe’s land, but the treaty rights of all the Oceti Sakowin. The pipeline threatens our rights to hunt and fish. It also threatens our water rights—something we have seen successfully defended in Indian Country. This is what we seek to defend here.
Those who planned to occupy the new camp are putting all of our work at risk. They also put peoples’ lives at risk. We have seen what brutality law enforcement can inflict with little provocation. There could be sacred sites on that property. These continuing actions in the face of the tribes’ plea to stand down only harm the cause that everyone came here to support.
Yesterday, some took advantage of the impending easement and used it as a call back to camp. Please, once again, we ask that people do not return to camp. The fight is no longer here, but in the halls and courts of the federal government. Here at the camp, those who remain should be working together to help clean and restore the land.
When I talk to people at the camp, they say I only talk for my tribe, which is true. They say I am not their leader, and I agree. I was elected by members of my tribe. It is this tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux, whose land is most at risk. It is also our court case at risk, but in reality, all of our treaty rights are at risk. If we want to be treated as nations then we must behave as such. In these past few weeks at camp, I see no reflection of our earlier unity, and without unity we lose.
Every action taken here is scrutinized at the highest level, and taints the capacity for good will. We need to take the lessons from this experience and get ready for the next battle; there are many to come with this new president.