The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which sent an eviction notice to Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault on Friday, released an update Sunday to clarify their plans to close the Oceti Sakowin Camp, which lies just north of the Cannonball River in southern Morton County, North Dakota.
The Army Corps said they have no plans to forcibly remove anyone, though those who stay, the agency said, do so at the risk of being ticketed or arrested.
"We fully support the rights of all Americans to exercise free speech and peacefully assemble, and we ask that they do it in a way that does not also endanger themselves or others, or infringe on others' rights," Omaha District Commander Colonel John Henderson said in a statement.
The Army Corp's update on the eviction came the same day that a coalition of groups—Camp of the Sacred Stones, International Indigenous Youth Council, Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth—released a new statement, which said, "We will not be moved."
Water protectors continue to take a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline.©Lori Panico
The statement went on to say:
"We stand united in defiance of the black snake and are committed to defense of water, our Mother Earth, and our rights as Indigenous people. We call on all people of conscience, from all Nations, to join the encampments and stand with us as we put our bodies on the line.
"The Army Corps has no authority to evict us from these lands. The Oceti Sakowin encampment is located on the ancestral homeland of the Lakota, Mandan, Arikara and Northern Cheyenne—on territory never ceded to the U.S. government, and affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land belonging to the Great Sioux Nation.
"We call on the White House to deny the easement now, revoke the permits, remove the DAPL construction workers and order a full environmental impact statement in formal consultation with impacted tribal governments."
Watch the Facebook live video of the Standing Rock press event held Saturday afternoon in response to the eviction letter:
"Just one day after Thanksgiving, and the government is once again breaking trust with Indigenous peoples," 350.org's Executive Director May Boeve said. "It's the pipeline company who should be vacating this land, not the water protectors and their supporters. President Obama can no longer remain silent while people's lives are being put at risk by the actions of the Army Corps and militarized law enforcement. The only just and responsible way to end this confrontation is for the President to reject the pipeline once and for all."
The eviction letter from the Army Corps came just 12 days after the Army Corps announced that it would delay a decision on granting an easement to Energy Transfer Partners. The enforcement date of the eviction, Dec. 5, is one day after more than 600 veterans plan to join the water protectors at Standing Rock to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The $3.8 billion pipeline project is now in its final stretch with more than 80 percent of the pipeline already constructed.
"We will stand our ground for the water and the unborn generations," the joint statement from the water protectors said. "Our fight is not just about a pipeline project. It is about 500 years of colonization and oppression. This is our moment, a chance to demand a future for our people and all people. We ask you to join us."