As myths are being pushed by leaders of the protest movement, local newspapers are starting to push back by focusing on facts. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault, claimed in an opinion piece that his protestors were peaceful throughout last week’s confrontations, despite evidence of violence. In contrast, editorials from the Bismarck Tribune and Inforum denounced the protesters actions and supported law enforcement’s efforts because of the lawlessness occurring.
Again, Chairman Archambault blatant ignores facts about his own protest. It is simply unbelievable the Chairman refuses to acknowledge what law enforcement officials, media outlets, community members, pipeline workers, and other tribal leaders have already: the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline has not been peaceful whatsoever and need to end.
The following represents the disparity in opinion, and sadly facts from today’s pieces.
According to Archambault, “I watched as riot police with military-grade weapons, tanks and helicopters rounded up hundreds of peaceful water protectors in North Dakota protesting an oil pipeline.”
As widely reported, the protestors were anything but peaceful and refused to end the confrontation when given the opportunity. In sharp contrast, the editorials call out for the protests for lawless chaos they have become—unlike President Obama.
According to the Tribune, “Officials gave the protesters ample warning that they were coming and they had an opportunity to withdraw, but many didn’t do so. To the outside world it may have appeared like a military operation, but law enforcement needed to protect themselves. Overall, the operation went smoothly with no serious injuries. It’s unfortunate the situation came to this, but some of the protesters refused to back off.”
According to Inforum, “There is nothing peaceful about illegal weapons and illegal drugs. There is nothing peaceful about cattle theft and slaughter, and the destruction of fences and the torching of construction equipment. There is nothing peaceful about blocking public roads and bridges, and intimidating motorists or children on school buses. There is nothing peaceful about defacing the Capitol with motor oil. Certain ivory tower scholars, elitist humanitarians and adherents of the mantra that American Indians can do no wrong dismiss even the suggestion that law and order must be re-established in order to find a pipeline compromise. It’s not about law and order, they lecture. It is.”
Archambault also takes flawed issue with the routing and implementation of the project.
According to Archambault, “Now a private company wants to put a crude oil pipeline at our doorstep after citizens of Bismarck rejected it, fearing that it would poison their water supply.”
First, the pipeline is not “at [their] doorstep” as it does not cross Native land and it also part of a series of pipelines that follow the same construction corridor.
Moreover, the citizens of Bismarck did not reject the pipeline, the current route—that is more than 77 percent complete—was the original route. In fact, the North Bismarck route was not chosen because it crosses near more tribal owned land and 27 more bodies of water.