Chairman reiterates call for DOJ to investigate, keep protesters safe
Published October 24, 2016
CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA—Since Saturday, October 22, 127 water protectors have been arrested. There have been multiple reports that peaceful protestors were met with violence.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II released the following statement on Sunday evening:
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.
Preventing government agencies from stripping protestors and tribal members of their constitutional rights to organize and protect our sacred places and water is paramount to both U.S. citizens and tribal sovereignty.