Home / #Solutions / As Natives Declare Treaty Rights, Police Admit Defeat — Cite Lack of ‘Manpower’ to Remove DAPL Protesters

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

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.

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“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.

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.

  • Razedbywolvs

    This is not good news. The DOJ will not side with the protesters. The National Guard or a Backwater type security firm is going to show up.

    • Agreed, the Plutocracy always wins in the end. They may just decide to wait out the protesters, wait until they go home and then build it. They have a great deal of patience and there is always other routes to take.

  • Thank you The Free Thought Project for these articles, the MSM (fully Plutocratic controlled) seems to be igoring this and making protestors look like fringe nutcases.

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  • cat007

    Cops have no conscience

  • Darryle Grady

    If this Pipeline goes in and the line breaks, not if it does, but when it does. Think of all the rail tankers and semi tankers it’s going to take to ship water back into all the effected communities. Where do you think their dumping their frackingwaste. http://www.waterworld.com/articles/wwi/print/volume-28/issue-5/regional-spotlight-us-caribbean/fracking-wastewater-management.html

  • Susan Pippin

    They need to stop acting like the Gestapo and charging the water defenders with rioting. The only rioters are the police showing up dressed to kill.

  • Mark Purcell

    Unfortunately on part true. Yes they backed down and have called in reinforcements to remove them. Just readying to load up the real heavy artillery on the indians now. Mainstream TV media still won’t report what’s been going on because they work for propaganda corporate reality show networks now. Their not journalist but sheeple hiding truth and facts. … http://www.kotatv.com/content/news/Sheriff-lacks-manpower-to-push-out-pipeline-protesters-398221661.html

  • Ed Hino

    I SAW A PICTURE OF A SHERIFF ,S PERSONNEL WITH A 50 CALIBER SNIPER RIFLE POINTING IT TOWARDS THE PROTESTORS WHY DO THEY NEED 50 CALIBER WEAPONS TRAINED ON THE NATIVE PEOPLE ,ITS LIKE DAVID AGAISNT GOLAITH US CORPROATES WITH OVER KILL AND DEFENSELESS PEOPLE CHANTING NATIVE PRAYERS TOWARD OF THESES EVIL ENTITIES WANTING TO DAMAGE THEM ,YOU BEEN truamatizing abusing and murdering theses families for five hundred years ,taking there natural resources to enrich your selves ,some where there has to be accounting for the crimes inflited on our native peoples just like the spanish land grants ,deeds takenfron the original owners at gun point by the texas ranger protect elaetate agents who stole millions of acres from our people and now call it the keney ranches king ranches etc

  • These kind of announcements can be misleading. They want you to think they are giving up so people will stop paying attention, and then they go in and finish them off. This is when the protest really needs to grow. They really don’t want people to know what is happening, because they know what they are doing is so wrong! I pray for and with the water protectors. They still need more people! Everyone who can possibly go should go and stop this pipeline, and other pipelines. The DAPL goes down through Iowa to Illinois, there is also a pipeline in Florida, and a pipeline in the north east, the AIM pipeline crosses the hudson river in NY and goes straight across CT to the coast of MD. These pipelines are all being protested right now. If you are able, please go and join these protests.

  • Eli Jackson

    No, they lack the authority, they just don’t want to admit it….:)

  • Rogue cops cost us money

    Billy Jack would be Proud…….

  • pontfadog

    The native peoples are doing what they have always done stand up for their rights, I am 100% with them. ps, my kids are part native.

  • IsleOracle


    This is what we are fighting against!!! These pipes are worthless trash!

  • Ali Garrison

    Jack Burns, please note that the people who are standing up at Standing Rock are not “Protestors”. They are Water Protectors, protecting all of our grandchildren’s rights for safe and clean water. Words are powerful. So are names. Respect the Protectors. Water is Life.