Fearing 'Trick,' Standing Rock Protesters Defy Call to 'Go Home'

'Our native people have reason to be distrustful'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2016 6:12 AM CST
Fearing 'Trick,' Standing Rock Protesters Defy Call to 'Go Home'
Travelers arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, ND.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota has told activists to leave camps in protest of the Dakota Access pipeline following the US Army Corps of Engineers' decision to consider alternate routes that don't travel under Lake Oahe. "It's time to go home," Dave Archambault says in a video statement, noting the pipeline will not go forward this winter, per the Guardian. "There's no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments." Yet protesters are hesitant. Some want the pipeline project abandoned completely, while others fear a court or President-elect Donald Trump will overturn the Army Corps of Engineers' decision. More suspect the "huge victory" is simply a plot to clear the area.

"Our native people have reason to be distrustful," an Indigenous Environmental Network rep tells the Guardian. "Nothing indicates for us to pack up and go home." Archambault is "trusting bureaucracy and the government," but "the chairman does not tell us what to do. The chairman is not in charge of the camp," adds a protester. "We came to fight a black snake," referring to the pipeline. "Until it's dead, we stand. That doesn't mean put it five miles up the river. That means kill it dead." The companies behind the pipeline project appear equally determined. Energy Transfer Partners—which counts Trump as an investor—and Sunoco Logistics said Monday they plan to "complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting." (Read more Dakota Access Pipeline stories.)

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