Society

Standing Rock Leader Asks Protesters To Go Home

| by Oren Peleg

Months of growing protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline may be coming to an end. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault III greeted news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River by asking protesters to go home.

“There’s no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments,” Archambault said in a video message, reports The Guardian. “It’s time now. It’s time to go home.”

Archambault’s words come as a blizzard rips through the state, bringing below freezing (and even blow zero) temperatures.  

But not all are willing to accept the permit denial as a victory.

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"I think this is just a rest," Charlotte Bad Cob, with the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, told Reuters. "With a new government it could turn and we could be at it again."

Incoming President-elect Donald Trump not only has personal investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, but supports its construction on policy grounds, notes The Associated Press.

A memo from the Trump transition team suggests that Trump may reverse Obama’s decision to halt construction, as Trump "intends to cut the bureaucratic red tape put in place by the Obama administration that has prevented our country from diversifying our energy portfolio."

“We came to fight a black snake,” said Ladonna Bravebull Allard, a member of the Standing Rock tribe, referring to the pipeline, reports The Guardian. “Until it’s dead, we stand. That doesn’t mean put it five miles up the river. That means kill it dead.”

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But Archambault maintains his stance, notes NPR. "Their purpose has been served," he said of the protesters.

He continued:

They brought worldwide attention to this area and I am thankful for their support, and I am thankful for their efforts but it's time now. And everybody can just relax and go home. It's going to take time, they have to understand that. And it's an opportunity for them to go home. It's an opportunity for them to spend this winter, and if they celebrate holidays, to spend the holidays with their families. I know their families are yearning for them to come home.

Trump will assume the office of the presidency on January 20. 

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, NPR, AP / Photo credit: Cassi Alexandra/NPR

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