Aug 21, 2016 - Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Responds to North Dakota Governor’s Declaration of Emergency
I appreciate the pressure that Governor Dalrymple is working under. We are all feeling the tension created by the recent decision of the Corps of Engineers and Energy Transfer Partners to rush ahead with construction of the Dakota Access pipeline while important legal issues of tribal sovereignty and public health and safety remain unresolved.
Tribal leaders are committed to non-violence and peaceful prayer as the guiding principle of Cannon Ball River camps. We are doing everything in our power to promote that spirit. This is an opportunity to work together in a spirit of cooperation, and we should take advantage of that opportunity.
But with all due respect, the Governor’s declaration of emergency was unfortunate. I wish he had consulted with the tribe before making today’s declaration, because the tribe has its hand extended in the spirit of partnership and cooperation. We look upon this situation as an opportunity to work together.
Everyone needs to keep in mind that our families are the ones most affected by the Governor’s decision to close parks, blockade roads, and use the language of confrontation rather than cooperation. We are just as conscious of the need for public safety as the Governor, but we do not feel the need to cancel our concerts, or close our parks. In fact, now more than ever, we want people to come to Standing Rock and visit. Just today, our Tribal Council voted unanimously that the roadblocks should be taken down. It is our mothers and fathers who are on the road this week as our children prepare for the opening of school. Our citizens rely on the roads to get from home to work. We are most harmed economically by shutting the last weeks of the tourist season.
What is happening at the Canon Ball Camp reflects a historic moment for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For the first time in 100 years we are hosting the reconvening of the Seven Council fires of the Oceti Sakowin. This attests to our commitment to working together for our children’s future.
I look forward to working with the Governor to remove the road blocks, reopen the parks and ensure the public safety.
Dave Archambault II
Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe