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Direct Action: Standing Rock Water Protectors Establish New Frontline Encampment

David Solnit Oct 24

Following a sunrise ceremony at the main Standing Rock encampment on Sunday, a mass march, car caravan and troupe of horse riders walked and rode three miles up the road to the "frontline" camp where the fracked oil Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) crosses Highway 1806, near the Missouri River. 

Fences were removed and a massive ongoing occupation by hundreds of people of the planned pipeline site is taking place right now. There are tipis, tents and semi-truck loads of firewood present. This encampment stands directly on the path of the DAPL pipeline on land claimed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie as sovereign land. Multiple barricades and human blockades were set up on Highway 1806. 

This comes the day after a major police escalation of violence. On Saturday, 83 people were arrested (the largest mass arrest to date—most remain in jail spread across multiple counties), there were violent police assaults including the use of chemical weapons against unarmed non-violent water protectors. The pipeline is a few miles from crossing under the Missouri River. It is already completed up to the river on the east side of the Missouri. One journalist who has been covering DAPL estimated that nearly one-half mile a day is being constructed. In Iowa the DAPL pipeline construction is drilling under the Mississippi River, nearing completion in the face of daily resistance by Mississippi Stand and others Iowa water protectors. 

In response to the establishment of the new encampment, riot police have massed on surrounding hillsides with vehicles and two armored tanks but have not attacked or tried to remove anyone yet. The water protectors will not back down. What happens next is up to us. The Standing Rock Sioux and the indigenous nations of North America have finally drawn the line to stop Big Oil and the system behind it from wrecking our water, communities and future. I am thankful for their vision, courage and risk. Now it's our turn. Can we do whatever is needed to back off possible repression and help turn this historic resistance into a historic victorious turning of the tide? Please stay informed, join actions where you live, and do what you can. 

I spent the last month supporting the water protectors here with art, appreciation and construction. I return home with a commitment to work in the communities I am part of to draw our own line against big oil, Let's make dozens, hundreds of "Standing Rocks" everywhere. 

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A statement from Sacred Stone Camp:
"Cannon Ball, ND – This morning, at approximately 8am central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd. 

To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established three road blockades:

North of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806

South of the Cannon Ball River, on Highway 1806

Immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134

Police have discharged weapons, using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions. 

This frontline camp is located on the final three 3 miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is 2 miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible."

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