Published September 16, 2016
OMAHA — On Friday, September 17, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a Special Use Permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to use federal lands managed by the Corps near Lake Oahe.
This permit applies to the land where a large encampment is now located where up to 5,000 American Indians and supporters have been camping. The original Stone Spirit camp was established by about 50 people on April 1, 2016. After arrests took place last month, the encampment has increased during the past several weeks. The size alters as people come and go because of employment and educational responsibilities. On weekends, the camp swells in size.
Omaha District Commander, Col. John W. Henderson, informed Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, that the Tribe’s Spiritual gathering, located south of the Cannonball River, has been granted a Special Use Permit, which allows the Tribe to gather to engage in a lawful free speech demonstration on Federal lands designated in the permit.
“Thousands of people have peacefully gathered in prayer and solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “We appreciate the cooperation of the Corps in protecting the First Amendment rights of all water protectors.”
The Tribe’s Special Use Permit application requested use of lands to the north and south of the mouth of the Cannonball River; however, because the northern property is subject to an existing grazing lease, this portion of the application is not being acted on at this time.
“Among our many diverse missions is managing and conserving our natural resources. I want to encourage those who are using the permitted area to be good stewards and help us to protect these valuable resources,” said Henderson.
The purpose for requesting and granting a Special Use Permit under Title 36 is to provide applicants temporary use of federal lands for lawful purposes. In turn, the applicant assumes responsibility for maintenance, damage and restoration costs, ensures the health, welfare, safety, supervision, and security of participants and spectators, and provides liability insurance. This permit requires that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe work with its supporters to ensure that the land is restored to its previous state so that others may benefit from use in the future.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a deep respect for the traditions, culture, and concerns of all Native American Tribes, and we are committed to strengthening our enduring partnership with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,” said Henderson.