The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said Friday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to close an area where people have been camping for months to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline.The violence and vandalism carried out by the Indian and enviro-activist demonstrators of the Dakota Access Pipeline have been a stark contrast to the the blustery, but ultimately nonviolent and property respecting protesters at the Malheur standoff, much the way the filthy Occupy Wall Street protesters contrasted with the Tea Party demonstrations, who left their protest sites cleaner than before they arrived.
Dave Archambault said in a statement that he received a letter from the Corps, dated Friday, which says all lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed Dec. 5.
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The letter, provided by the tribe, says: "To be clear, this means that no member of the general public, to include Dakota Access pipeline protesters, can be on these Corps lands."
It says anyone on land north of the river after Dec. 5 will be trespassing and may be prosecuted. It also says anyone who stays on the land does so at his or her own risk.
The letter, from Army Corps of Engineers Col. John Henderson, says the closure is necessary to protect the general public from violent confrontations between protesters and authorities and to protect demonstrators from illness, injury or death during North Dakota's harsh winter months. It also says that the area does not have necessary first responder services or facilities to protect people during the winter.
They have already promised to defy the Corps. Pipeline Protesters Vow to Stay on Federal Land
Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters will not follow a government directive to leave the federal land where hundreds have camped for months, organizers said Saturday, despite state officials encouraging them to do so.But being leftist protesters, they don't likely fear an armed ambush.
Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault and other protest organizers confidently explained that they'll stay at the Oceti Sakowin camp and continue with nonviolent protests a day after Archambault received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that said all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for "safety concerns."
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Standing Rock tribal members believe the land in which the encampment is on is owned by the Sioux through a more than century-old treaty with the U.S. government.
"We are wardens of this land. This is our land and they can't remove us," said protester Isaac Weston, who is an Oglala Sioux member from South Dakota. "We have every right to be here to protect our land and to protect our water."