Native Americans protesting against an oil pipeline being built near their reservation have been ordered to evacuate protest sites by North Dakota’s Governor Jack Dalrymple.
Several thousand Native American protesters and other activists who have been camped out at different sites in North Dakota since April are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. They say the construction of the oil pipeline is destroying sacred sites and burial grounds, and is polluting their water supply.
There have been reports of clashes with law enforcement as well as hundreds of arrests and injuries. Police have used rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against the protesters in an attempt to discourage them and force them to leave.
Gov. Dalrymple has ordered protesters to evacuate to protect them from harsh winter weather and blizzard conditions.
Jordan Chariton, Political Reporter for The Young Turks, spoke with Roland Martin on NewsOne Now about the governor’s newfound concern for the protesters. They will face $1,000 fines if they do not leave and decide to brave the severe weather conditions; wind chill temperatures are expected to plummet to 30 degrees below zero.
Chariton told Martin that as the Obama administration allows the standoff to “play out,” people are experiencing hypothermia. One woman nearly lost her retina as a result of tear gas and another woman nearly lost her arm.
It is still undetermined if the oil pipeline will perform as advertised and be utilized for domestic oil. Independent analysts claim the oil pipeline will be used for foreign exports.
When asked what was next for the protesters, Chariton said, “The governor’s evacuation order is interesting because the Army Corp issued an eviction letter on Friday and then kind of ‘moonwalked’ back on it and the governor issued a mandatory evacuation letter on Monday and he has backtracked. Right after that letter came out, an emergency management official in his administration said they won’t be using force to evict people.”
Chariton continued, “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe [and] its allies have said they are not going anywhere – they see this as their land and it is their land as per the 1851 Treaty.
“Since the mainstream media doesn’t report on this, what many people don’t know is that there is a $1.3 billion trust fund in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s name that the United States government pretty much offered them and they have not taken it.”
According to Chariton, the next big standoff will take place on December 4th and 5th, when up to 3,000 veterans will come to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the Native American protesters.
“The veterans are not coming to have tea and cake,” he said.
Watch Roland Martin, Jordan Chariton and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the standoff at Standing Rock in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty