Standing Rock Sioux Tribe urges calm ahead of #NoDAPL ruling

Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe addresses supporters outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

The leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling for peace and prayer amid a law enforcement buildup and as the #NoDAPL movement awaits a crucial court decision.

Chairman Dave Archambault II said the tribe will keep fighting no matter how the ruling turns out. At issue is whether a federal judge will put a halt to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline

"We call upon all water protectors to greet any decision with peace and order," Archambault said in a statement. "Even if the outcome of the court’s ruling is not in our favor, we will continue to explore every lawful option and fight against the construction of the pipeline."

The comments came after North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R), who has been less than receptive to the #NoDAPL movement, told Archambault earlier in the day that he is activating the National Guard ahead of the anticipated ruling. The buildup stirred fears of intimidation and harassment among the thousands who have gathered at campsites near Cannon Ball.

"Since the very beginning, public safety has been a top priority," Dalrymple said at a press conference.

The North Dakota National Guard issued a statement and has been busy fielding questions on Facebook about it role in the law enforcement buildup near the #NoDAPL campsites.

Amid questions about its role, the National Guard issued a statement on Thursday and said it was only going to assist in "administrative capacities" as well as provide security at "traffic information points" in the area. Personnel will not be going to the #NoDAPL encampment, according to the statement.

As a result of the added security, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, whose office has used Facebook to accuse pipeline resisters of crimes without actually arresting anyone, announced that the roadblock along Highway 1806 will be lifted. The roadblock had been a source of contention because it forced people to drive longer distances to get to and from the reservation, including the tribe's Prairie Knights Casino and Resort, even if they weren't involved in the resistance efforts.

Kirchmeier also said only a "small number" of National Guard personnel will be on site. But Dalrymple confirmed that additional law enforcement units from across the state are being called to the Cannon Ball area and even to the areas around Bismarck, where the United Tribes Technical College is hosting the 20th annual Tribal Leaders Summit and the 40th annual International Powwow, events that draw tens of thousands to the region.

A video of the full press conference with the sheriff and the governor was posted on Facebook.

This UmoNhoN Mizhinga handed the US Army Corps of Engineers letters from the four Nebraska tribes in opposition to DAPL. The youth are our future. Thank you Quinn Wolfe for your courage today!

Posted by Omaha Tribe of Nebraska on Thursday, September 8, 2016

Amid the activity, #NoDAPL resisters at the Sacred Stone Camp stayed busy and peaceful on Thursday. Many started the day with a morning prayer ceremony and, later on, began welcoming canoes from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to the encampment as part of the Paddle To Standing Rock 2016.

The paddlers, some of whom traveled thousands of miles to get to North Dakota, pushed off from Bismarck on Wednesday as part of the journey. At least 18 canoes are participating, according to the organizers.

As for the court case, Judge James E. Boasberg has promised to issue a decision on Friday. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is asking for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a move that could indefinitely delay the pipeline.

Regardless of the outcome, the Army Corps has yet to issue a key easement for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. The pipeline can't transport oil without this segment.

Appeals are expected no matter how the decision turns out. Dakota Access has said it needs to complete work in time to start moving oil on January 1, 2017.

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