Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 30, 2016

ACE Hardware rescinds policy to halt sell of propane to Standing Rock water protectors during blizzard

Ace Hardware's corporate office said Wednesday that it would not sell propane in the region of the Standing Rock water protectors, where blizzard conditions are placing lives at risk. After an outcry on social media, then phone calls to the corporate office, and a national news story -- Ace Hardware's corporate office changed its policy today. As always, it is the people, standing solid in resistance, that made it happpen. Earlier, the Morton County Sheriff told stores not to sell propane to water protectors. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier's lies are a campaign to ensure the pipeline gets built, and to promote his racist, genocidal policies targeting Native people and their supporters.

Update: After the news of the ban on the sale of propane to Standing Rock water protectors on Wednesday, the corporate Ace Hardware changed their policy on Thursday.

Oceti Sakowin Camp today. Photo by Sarah Sunshine Manning.

Ace Hardware Boycott urged after company refuses to sell propane in the vicinity of Standing Rock during a blizzard

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Update: After this article hit the national news late Wednesday, Ace Hardware released a statement on Thursday, Dec. 1, saying there is no ban on propane to Standing Rock water protectors.

Ace Hardware Wednesday that it would not sell propane in the region of the Standing Rock water protectors, where blizzard conditions are placing lives at risk. Ace said it is responding to a request by law enforcement.
Ace Hardware's policy, which defies human decency and human rights, can be heard in this audio recording by Kevin Gilbertt.
Gilbertt said propane is needed to keep people alive.
Gilbertt encouraged people to call Ace Hardware customer service and respond. "There is not enough wood in camp," he said, pointing out that it is too cold to go out, and too difficult to get enough wood for heat in camp.
Ace Hardware said it will not sell "incendiary" products in the vicinity of Standing Rock pipeline.
The company said, "Ace Hardware stores in the vicinity of recent pipeline protests in North Dakota have been requested by law enforcement officials to refrain from selling materials that could be used as incendiary devices."
Gilbertt said, "ACE Hardware needs to be boycotted."
Gilbertt points out that law enforcement, including the Morton County Sheriff's Department, has been brutalizing water protectors. While engaging in acts of cruelty and inflicting serious injury, law enforcement has spread lies about the water protectors.
Gilbertt also points out that the North Dakota Governor's claim of declaring an emergency evacuation out of concern for the safety of the people is ridiculous.
The fact that people are being denied propane in a life and death situation reveals the absurdity of the governor's statements of fake concern for the safety of the people.
"This is disgusting."
Ace Hardware released this statement:
Thank you for contacting the Ace Center. 
Ace Hardware stores in the vicinity of recent pipeline protests in North Dakota have been requested by law enforcement officials to refrain from selling materials that could be used as incendiary devices. Ace’s number one priority is to protect the safety of its employees, customers and the communities each store serves; Ace will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials. Ace’s compliance is not a reflection of any corporate viewpoint on the pipeline project.
If you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us and refer to incident 2529138.
Have a great day! Sincerely,
Camillia H. | Ace Care Center
(888) 827-4223

Below: Ace customer service reads the statement in this telephone recording.

Ace Hardware refuses to sell propane to Standing Rock water protectors in blizzard, latest in genocidal policies 

Photo by Sarah Sunshine Manning
(Written for Narco News, Google News)
STANDING ROCK, North Dakota -- Ace Hardware said today that it would not sell propane in the region of the Standing Rock water protectors, where blizzard conditions are placing lives at risk.
"There is not enough wood in camp," Kevin Gilbertt said, pointing out that it is too cold to go out, and too difficult to get enough wood for heat in camp. Gilbertt urged a boycott of Ace Hardware.
Ace Hardware said it will not sell "incendiary" products in the vicinity of Standing Rock pipeline.
The company said, "Ace Hardware stores in the vicinity of recent pipeline protests in North Dakota have been requested by law enforcement officials to refrain from selling materials that could be used as incendiary devices." Ace Hardware released the statement:
The refusal to sell propane to thousands of Native Americans and their allies, now camped in blizzard conditions, who are defending the Missouri River and burial places from Dakota Access Pipeline, is the latest in a campaign of total disregard for human life by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.
Standing Rock victims of violence have filed a federal lawsuit over police brutality and excessive force. One Lakota girl is now at risk of losing her eye.
A young woman from New York has a shattered arm after being hit with a police projectile. Doctors are now trying to save her arm. Others were shot in the face and head with rubber bullets, and hundreds became ill after being sprayed with fire hoses and mace during freezing temperatures at night on Nov. 20.
Brandy Toelupe, president of the Water Protectors Legal Collective, told a legal panel at University of Arizona yesterday, "The violence is escalating to such a degree, that it is amazing that no one died that night," said Toelupe.
The panel included attorneys, professors, and Michelle Cook, Dine' founding member of the attorneys in camp, Water Protectors Legal Collective.
Layha Spoonhunter, Arapaho, Shoshone, Oglala Lakota and a member of the Indigenous Youth Council, said, "My little sister had her arm fractured," Spoonhunter said. When police refractured the youth's arm a second time, the officer smiled, Spoonhunter said. Read more:
Navajo veterans are joining more than 2,000 veterans who will stand the line in front of Standing Rock water protectors. Shiprock, N.M. President Chili Yazzie said more than 100 Navajo veterans are traveling to Standing Rock to serve on the banks of the Cannon Ball River.  “We have secured two charter buses to transport 112 Diné Veterans to Standing Rock, leaving Friday, Dec 2 to return on Tuesday, Dec 6.”
Read more at:

Copyright by producers of the content, and may not be used without written permission.  Censored News articles may not be used on webpages with advertising, or in any manner that results in revenue.

Photos -- Snow Mirrors Resilience of Standing Rock Water Protectors

Photos by Sarah Sunshine Manning. Thank you for sharing with Censored News
Snowfall yesterday and today at Oceti Sakowin Camp. CNN is present, let's see what they come up with.

Navajo Veterans Leave for Standing Rock on Dec. 3, 2016

November 29, 2016

IOWA BACKHOE LOCKDOWN -- Run to the River!


Today, two brave Water Protectors locked down to an excavator that was removing crucial boring sludge from the Dakota Access Pipeline site currently drilling under the Des Monies River.
They have been released from jail and are needing support for their bond and fees.

Standing Rock: Water Protectors Galvanizing Present, Creating New Generation, says University of Arizona Panel

Indigenous youth, attorneys and professors celebrate Standing Rock water protectors and the inspiration of a new generation

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News copyright

TUCSON, Arizona -- The water protectors of Standing Rock are galvanizing the present and creating new futures for Native Americans who return to the frontlines boldly, regardless of being shot with rubber bullets, hit with gushing water in freezing temperatures, attacked by vicious dogs and sprayed with tear gas and mace.

Standing Rock Camp Attorney Brandy Toelupe, speaking on a panel "Defend the Sacred, a Legal Panel on Standing Rock and the NO DAPL Movement," today at the University of Arizona Law School, described the lawsuits in progress against the police who have brutalized the water protectors who are defending the water of the Missouri River and the burial places.

Toelupe described the brutal attack by the Morton County Sheriff's Department and militarized police on the night of Sunday, Nov. 20, when the people were sprayed with fire hoses in freezing temperatures, shot with rubber bullets and projectiles, and maced.

"The violence is escalating to such a degree, that it is amazing that no one died that night," said Toelupe. She said that was the most difficult night. There were serious injuries that night.

Toelupe described a class action lawsuit filed yesterday. The class action suit points out that 200 people were injured, at least half were Native Americans. The attorneys are waiting for North Dakota federal court to schedule a hearing on the request for an immediate temporary restraining order to halt the unlawful and ongoing abuse by law enforcement.

"The tactics of law enforcement are becoming militarized," she said. "It is a very dangerous situation."

Toelupe is President of the Water Protectors Legal Collective, formerly named Red Owl Legal Collection. She said the attorneys are protecting the water protectors right to pray and their right to free speech.

Michelle Cook, Dine', founding member of the Water Protectors Legal Collective, described how she was traumatized by being present in the camp during the months of August and September. Cook is now readying to return to camp. She placed a bulletproof vest in front of the panel, a donation to the water protectors, as a visual statement of how serious the situation has become.

"That is part of the sacrifice that everyone is making," she said.

The protection of the water and burial places of Standing Rock are not just an issue for Standing Rock, but it impacts every single individual, she said.

Cook said it is an American issue, and an international issue, that such violence happens to Indian people

Layha Spoonhunter, Arapaho, Shoshone and Oglala Lakota, member of the International Indigenous Youth Council, arrived here at the university from camp. 

"My little sister had her arm fractured," Spoonhunter said, describing the sacrifices and courage of the American Indian youths in Standing Rock Camp.

Spoonhunter said that before this, the Native youths respected law enforcement, because they grew up with this teaching of respect. But that has changed. After his little sister had her arm fractured by police, the arm was re-fractured by police at another action. When they asked the officer who did this, Spoonhunter said the officer smiled.

"Our youth are so strong at this camp," he said, describing how they keep going back to protect the water. "We don't know what each day will bring."

"This is something that we have to deal with," he said, describing the constant presence of police and helicopters. "It is hard for our protectors to get adequate sleep."

Spoonhunter said the water protectors do not understand how they can do this, how police can inflict such cruelty with water cannons and dogs. How, he asked, could they still be doing this in the Twenty-first century. On Nov. 20th, the police did not stop as people were wounded. They continued the cruel assault into the predawn hours.

"It was down to 14 degrees, they were still using water cannons. Our youth were still being hit with rubber bullets, water cannons."

Still, he said, "We know what we are fighting for. We don't want the black snake to destroy our future." He said he wants the youth to grow up with a future where there is clean air and water.

University of Arizona Law Professor Robert Williams, at the Indigenous Law and Policy Program, spoke on the "absurdity of federal Indian law," and the reality of the Doctrine of Discovery.

"Those treaties were treaties of peace and friendship," he said.

Offering a message of hope, Williams said there is a different way to talk about this whole controversy and it is based on international law.

Williams said international law recognizes that Indigenous Peoples today continue to have rights to their traditional lands and this includes the right to honor their land and hold their ceremonies on their traditional lands. International Indigenous rights include the right to cultural survival and identity based on traditional rights to the land.

Williams said the resistance movements of the 1960s and 1970s radicalized Indigenous rights. Today, he said, the resistance is radicalizing the current generation.

"That gives my heart hope."

Cook said the Stand at Standing Rock is a, "profound act of Indian sovereignty." The water protectors have been portrayed by the media as violent and lawless. She said they have been portrayed as racially inferior by the media.

"It is another way of saying we are savages," Cook said.

Layha Spoonhunter described the sovereignty, peace and beauty of the Standing Rock Camp. It includes the large camp Oceti Sakowin where thousands are camped, the original Camp of the Sacred Stones, and the Rosebud Lakota camp.

Spoonhunter said there are over 300 tribal flags located at the entrance. The security is located there, you will see our school, our media. "Many protectors have been there for over four months."

"This camp is decolonizing itself. We are not governed by a certain set of people." Spoonhunter said camp leaders do not dictate and they don't overrule the people. They listen to the youths. "They allow our input."

Spoonhunter said the Native people in camp are in fact "decolonizing ourselves."

"We don't have to rely on rules imposed on us by the federal government."

Encouraging others to go to camp if they can, he said there you will see the horseback riders, cooks, people who run the schools, and elders. In camp, they also recognize that young people do have a role. They recognize the Two Spirit People. "They define themselves in that masculine and feminine identity." He said within the camp, people are healing of homophobia.

The people are witnessing something that has not happened since 1876. Within the camp, tribes that were once traditional enemies have come together in peace. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault carried in the Crow flag as a demonstration of how former enemies are now united at Standing Rock in this struggle.

Spoonhunter said the people are united in this common purpose of clean water and clean air. Each day brings something different. Yesterday, the people were sledding and making snowmen in camp.

"Each night you get to see stars," amidst the airport lights of Dakota Access Pipeline, he said.

"It is beautiful. We don't have to rely on corporations. The American dream is happening."

Spoonhunter said there is no hunger and no homelessness. He said everybody takes care of one another. There is freedom and people take care of one another. He said if all people lived this way, there would be no need to fight political corruption.

Cook described it as, "The rising of the Indian spirit." It is a place where there is enough food and enough shelter. There are doctors and lawyers. "Indian people can govern ourselves."

"This is the legacy of Indian people. We have been able to take care of ourselves. Indian people are able to see what their power is."

The love for their culture and the way of life is more powerful than the guns, she said.

Toelupe urged others to make phone calls to President Obama, and their Congressional representatives.

"They are dehumanizing water protectors everyday." In reality, the water protectors are inspiring, beloved, prayerful and peaceful. "Share the truth of what is happening at Standing Rock."

During questions, Professor Williams described the permitting process and its role in what has happened at Standing Rock. Pipelines run across private lands and when the pipeline crosses federal land, or navigable waterways, the Army Corps must obtain federal permits. When it applies for an environmental impact statement, the EIS is applied for in piecemeal fashion, one piece at a time.

Williams pointed out that the snow and cold were the excuse of the North Dakota Governor to declare an emergency evacuation of the camp yesterday.

But Williams said that the true threat to public safety is when Indian people start living by their own ways.

Toelupe said the Water Protectors Legal Collective is working on other lawsuits currently. These include the violence of Dakota Access Pipeline security on September 3, when people were bitten by dogs and maced. People cried out for the police and none of the police nearby responded.

Currently, over 500 water protectors have been arrested. Toelupe said the court cases could go on for years and the attorneys are committed to seeing the cases through the courts.

Among those cases is the case of Red Fawn, who was charged with attempted murder. Cook said it is "malicious prosecution."

Spoonhunter said Red Fawn's charges were dropped yesterday in Morton County and refiled in federal court. She is now charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, he said.

"The charges are bogus." Spoonhunter said police and prosecutors claimed Red Fawn fired three shots. However, her arms were pinned down by three police officers, as shown in the videos.

Spoonhunter said she was targeted because she has been tremendously influential with the women and youths.

"They are targeting our leaders. They are targeting people who have influence. Our sister is sitting in federal jail right now."

"She is a strong individual."

Cook urged divestment and encouraged those at home to become active in the divestment campaign aimed at those who plan to profit from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jane Bambuer, associate law professor at the University of Arizona, described the impacts of the resistance and resilience. She described the novel approach of water protectors around the world who "checked in" on Facebook, to protect those who were actually present at Standing Rock from detection.

Water protectors file lawsuit, seek temporary restraining order, over police brutality

November 28, 2016

Standing Rock Medics Urge Army Corps to Rescind Eviction Notice to Prevent Morbidity and Mortality

The front line between Water Protectors and Riot Police on Thanksgiving on treaty land. Photo by Rob Wilson Photography

The front line between Water Protectors and Riot Police on Thanksgiving on treaty land. Photo by Rob Wilson Photography
Standing Rock Medics Urge Army Corps to Rescind Eviction Notice to Prevent Morbidity and Mortality

By Standing Rock Medic Healer's Council

Censored News
November 28, 2016

RE:  Urgent request for Lieutenant General Todd Semonite (US Army Corps of Engineers), Secretary Robert A. McDonald (US Department of Veteran Affairs) and Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (US Department of Health and Human Services) to immediately rescind the December 5th, 2016 eviction notice given to the Oceti Sakowin camp by the Army Corps of Engineers as well as a removal of the blockade on Highway 1806 in order to prevent unnecessary further morbidity and mortality
The Standing Rock Medic Healer’s Council (SRMHC) is a council of traditional Indigenous healers, physicians, nurses, paramedics, midwives, and medics who have provided continuous medical care at the camp since August, in response to poor healthcare access and escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff’s department and Dakota Access Pipeline security upon unarmed people who are peacefully assembled to protest a pipeline going through the source of drinking water for 16 million people.
We have been active in assessing the health needs and have been keeping people safe in what US veterans have described as “war-like conditions”—with surveillance aircraft, police checkpoints and the constant threat of violence from local law enforcement. We have also been providing daily no-cost care for acute and chronic conditions to thousands of people assembled peacefully to exercise their first amendment rights.
The vast majority of cases we have witnessed and treated -- in patients ranging from the young to elderly -- have been the direct result of the following:
Blunt force trauma, including but not limited to near amputation, retinal detachment, and multiple fractures, concussions, lacerations, and contusions as a result of rubber bullets, battery with batons, and concussion grenades,
Bites from attack dogs
Exposure to chemical weapons.
Hypothermia as a result of water cannons power blasting individuals in freezing temperatures.
Since October, the Morton County Sheriff’s department has blocked the northbound highway 1806, currently with razor wire, military vehicles and concrete blocks. This is in violation of the Geneva Convention, Article 18, first paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention II which provides that “[a]fter each engagement, Parties to the conflict shall, without delay, take all possible measures … to ensure … adequate care” of the shipwrecked, wounded and sick.” The blockade makes quick and expeditious travel by emergency services to the nearest level two trauma center in Bismarck impossible. What should be a 35 minute ambulance ride in an emergency becomes over an hour due to this blockade and checkpoints. This has been and continues to be a major threat to public health that has been not been addressed by local health agencies.  We urge you to address it immediately.
Of greatest concern is the previously mentioned December 5th eviction notice by the Army Corps of Engineers upon the Oceti Sakowin camp. Based upon all evidence to date we have good reason to believe that excessive, violent force will be used against unarmed people in winter conditions that threaten life simply through hypothermia. In our professional opinion, the Oceti Sakowin community composed of several thousand women (many of whom are pregnant) men, children, elderly,are firmly committed to remaining upon the land that was clearly outlined by Treaty laws belonging to the Lakota and Dakota peoples. We affirm that during the entire term of our service we have never seen any evidence of weapons, whether in the form of firearms or incendiary devices.  Given the urgency and immediacy of the care we provide, such evidence would be impossible to conceal. If the goal is to protect health and well being, that purpose will best be served by allowing the Oceti Sakowin to remain, unmolested, in full exercise of their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.
We want to make clear that the SRMHC is committed to fulfilling the spirit of the Geneva Convention by providing medical services to Oceti Sakowin regardless of the  decisions and conditions imposed by state agencies. This decision occurs despite clear observations that designated and labeled medics are being unethically and illegally targeted by law enforcement -- once again in violation of the Geneva Conventions (Rule 25. Medical personnel exclusively assigned to medical duties must be respected and protected in all circumstances).
We urge your respective agencies to prevent the alarming threat to loss of life and limb on December 5th. From our assessment as the medical team on the ground, the violence from law enforcement has been the largest threat to public safety. If you are concerned for human health and safety, we call for the following:
A rescission of the December 5 eviction notice as it provided a de facto invitation for Governor Jack Dalrymple to order an “emergency” evacuation under the false premise of public health. This in turn provides  the Morton County Police Department justification to enter and inflict harm upon the current encampment referred to as Oceti Sakowin
Acknowledging that the excessive violence, militarization, and disregard of the well being of the community is the source of violence and public health endangerment, we call for a disarmament of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
The immediate opening of northbound county highway 1806 to allow expeditious travel by emergency health services.
The Army Corps of Engineers has the power to immediately de-escalate the situation by denying the easement and bringing a permanent end to the construction of the DAPL through Lake Oahe.
As health workers, we urge you to recognize this as a public health issue and address it accordingly—with respect for human dignity and the right to clean healthy water which we all know is absolutely crucial for human health.
Standing Rock Medic Healer Council
Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Sitting Bull College
Noah Morris, EMT
Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate
Vanessa Bolin, ALS paramedic
Amelia Massucco, RN
Howard Ehrman MD, MPH, University of Illinois, Chicago
John Andrews, RN’
David Kingfisher, MD/JD Witchita State University
Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care
Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD Aha Aloha Aina
Rupa Marya, MD, University of California, San Francisco, Do No Harm Coalition
Kristina Golden, EMT
Sebastian Rodriguez, RN
Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP candidate
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Friedman, MD

Navajo Veterans Leave Dec. 3 for Standing Rock

Navajo Veterans Leave Dec. 3 for Standing Rock

This article has been updated. Please go to:

North Dakota Gov. Orders Evacuation -- Winter Storm Latest Ploy to Remove Water Protectors

Aerial view of Oceti Sakowin Camp today during snow, on Treaty land.

Chairman calls on Army Corps to reaffirm their position of no forcible removal

CANNON BALL, North Dakota —The following statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman, Dave Archambault II, can be quoted in part or in full.
French translation by Christine Prat
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans

“Today, Gov. Dalrymple issued an executive order calling for mandatory evacuation of all campers located on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) lands, also known as the Oceti Sakowin camp. This state executive order is a menacing action meant to cause fear, and is a blatant attempt by the state and local officials to usurp and circumvent federal authority. The USACE has clearly stated that it does not intend to forcibly remove campers from federal property. The Governor cites harsh weather conditions and the threat to human life. As I have stated previously, the most dangerous thing we can do is force well-situated campers from their shelters and into the cold. If the true concern is for public safety than the Governor should clear the blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings. This is a clear stretch of state emergency management authority and a further attempt to abuse and humiliate the water protectors. The State has since clarified that they won’t be deploying law enforcement to forcibly remove campers, but we are wary that this executive order will enable further human rights violations.”
The Chairman called on the Army Corps to affirm their previous statement regarding no forcible removal.

Dalrymple Orders Emergency Evacuation To Safeguard Against Harsh Winter Conditions

Signed November 28, 2016
WHEREAS, Morton County is currently experiencing severe winter weather storm conditions, and it is anticipated harsh winter conditions will continue until next spring; and
WHEREAS, winter conditions have the potential to endanger human life, especially when they are exposed to these conditions without proper shelter, dwellings, or sanitation for prolonged periods of time; and
WHEREAS, large populations have chosen to stay in areas of Morton County managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers south of the Cantapeta Creek and the Cannonball River (The areas include the confluence with Cantapeta Creek east, east of North Dakota Highway 1806, north of the Cannonball River, and west of the Missouri River) in tents, vehicles, temporary and semi-permanent structures which have not been inspected and approved by Morton County as proper dwellings suitable for winter habitation; and
WHEREAS, the aforementioned areas of Morton County are not zoned for dwellings suitable for living in winter conditions, and also do not possess proper permanent sanitation infrastructure to sustain a living environment consistent with proper public health; and
WHEREAS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the aforementioned area of Morton County which they manage to be vacated due to public safety concerns related to the inability to effectively provide emergency, medical, fire response services, and law enforcement services; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the state to assist citizens and visitors to North Dakota in addressing the emergencies, disasters, and other hardships that may face the state, its citizens and visitors, to include issuance of orders in the best interest of public safety.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jack Dalrymple, Governor of the State of North Dakota, order a mandatory evacuation of all persons located in areas under the proprietary jurisdiction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers located in Morton County, and defined as a prohibited area in Exhibit A of the United States Army Corps of Engineers memorandum provided to the Morton County Sheriff on November 25th, 2016 and attached to this order. This definition of the evacuation area shall remain in effect even if the United States Army Corps of Engineers redefines or removes these prohibited areas. These persons are ordered to leave the evacuation area immediately, and are further ordered not to return to the evacuation area.
All persons in the evacuation area shall take all their possessions with them upon their evacuation. 
Any action or inaction taken by any party which encourages persons to enter, reenter, or remain in the evacuation area will be subject to penalties as defined in law. 
I direct state agencies, emergency service officials, and nongovernmental organizations to reduce threats to public safety by not guaranteeing the provision of emergency and other governmental and nongovernmental services in the evacuation area, unless otherwise approved on a case by case basis by the Morton County Sheriff or Superintendent of the Highway Patrol.  The general public is hereby notified that emergency services probably will not be available under current winter conditions.
Any person who chooses to enter, reenter, or stay in the evacuation does so at their own risk, and assumes any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupation of the evacuation area.
This order is issued pursuant to the following authority and for the following reasons: 
The Governor is vested with the executive authority pursuant to Article V, Section 1 of the North Dakota Constitution; and, 
The governor is vested with statutory authority to issue executive orders to minimize or avert the effects of a disaster or emergency pursuant to Chapter 37-17.1 of the North Dakota Century Code; and, 
The governor is vested by Section 37-17.1-05(6)(e), N.D.C.C. with authority to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if the governor deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster or emergency mitigation, response, or recovery; and 
A coordinated and effective effort of all state departments is required to minimize the impact of disasters and emergencies in this state.
This order is effective immediately, and it shall remain in effect until rescinded. Executed at Bismarck, North Dakota, this 28th day of November, 2016.
Signed Executive Order:   application/pdf iconExecutive Order 2016-08.pdf

Water Protectors file class action suit for retaliation and excessive force against brutal police

Water Protectors file class action suit for retaliation and excessive force against brutal police

by Lauren C. Regan on November 28, 2016 in Articles, Cases, Current Cases, News
Water Protectors file class action suit for retaliation and excessive force against brutal police

Contact:  Lauren Regan, Director and Attorney, Civil Liberties Defense Center; Water Protector Legal Collective attorney, 541-687-9180;

Complaint and TRO filings included

Oceti Šakowiŋ camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota— On November 20, 2016 Native Americans and their allies walked on to a public bridge and prayed.  They bowed their heads in the frigid North Dakota dusk, lit sage and cedar, and began praying for the survival of the Missouri River, for their indigenous cultures, and for the planet and all its inhabitants.  On the other side of a thick razor wire fence, reminiscent of that found on prison walls and war zones, an army of trained killers began to amass with their weaponry.  The people praying, which included elders and youth, looked up from their exercise of First Amendment expression and into the foreboding line of police in riot gear, face masks, shields, guns, giant fire extinguisher-sized containers of chemical weapons, grenade launchers of tear gas, Tasers, batons, and what appears to be shotguns which shoot less than lethal bullets, called Specialty Impact Munitions (SIM). The public servants humiliated their profession by chastising and taunting Native American protectors, laughing when they injured a water protector with their munitions.

Water Protectors began to include the police in their prayers for peace and nonviolence.  They prayed for an end to environmental racism as the DAPL pipeline construction loomed in the background.  They prayed for an end to systemic racism, as they were surrounded by white allies in the hope that police might spare their brown bodies because they were surrounded by white ones of privilege.  Police readied into position a water cannon, or commonly described as a high-pressure fire hose.  And then, in an act deemed illegal and morally intolerable since the 1960’s civil rights era, law enforcement who took an oath to protect and serve everyone, unleashed a violent torrent of freezing cold water upon the brown indigenous people assembled in prayer and allyship in an apparent attempt to wash them out of sight and mind.  Bodies were whipped to the ground, innocent people were shocked into hypothermia and unable to move, and worse—many were trapped on the bridge unable to escape. Police used floodlights to blind the protectors and then began firing less than lethal bullets—the pop pop pop noise and the screams of pain penetrating the freezing night air.  Then chemical foggers were sprayed into the crowd, CS gas (teargas) canisters were launched out of high powered weapons, grenades were aimed at peoples’ heads, and the relentless icy force of high pressured fire hoses were continuously used as a form of crowd control for over 5 hours. Protectors collapsed unable to breathe from the chemical weapons, one person began having a seizure and was rendered unconscious.  One woman had a cop intentionally aim a flash bang grenade into her groin.  At least two people had their heads split open by less than lethal bullets and required dozens of staples to survive, another young woman was shot in the eye and face, another in the kneecap, another had his knuckles shattered and finger flesh peeled away while he gripped a camera; many more people walked away with welts and bruises.  Many people required medical attention for chemical weapon exposure, respiratory and vision problems.  Explosive chemical devices and other incendiary weapons were launched into the crowd by police with reckless abandon.  One officer held onto his explosive Instantaneous Blast CS grenade[1]  for 5 of the 7 seconds he has to launch it before it explodes, and then threw it directly at a 21-year-old Water Protector named Sophia Wilansky.  It is believed that the grenade exploded on her left arm almost tearing it from her body.  As blood began to pour from her body, and in an absolute demonstration of malice, police targeted medics and people attempting to rescue her and other injured people from the bridge.  It is still unknown whether Ms. Walinsky must have her arm amputated at her elbow.  These are just a few of the almost 300 injuries that were reported on November 20th.

It is for these reasons and more that Water Protectors have filed a civil rights class action seeking an emergency restraining order from the US District Court of North Dakota requesting that the Court put an end to the potentially deadly tactics used by law enforcement against them.  The request urges the Court to grant interim relief consisting of an order prohibiting Defendant law enforcement agencies from using excessive force in responding to the pipeline protests and prayer ceremonies and asks specifically for a prohibition on the use of SIM, explosive grenades, chemical agents, and water cannons or hoses, as means of crowd dispersal. The civil rights complaint seeks justice against the constitutional violations perpetuated against the mostly Native American water protectors, including claims of retaliation and police brutality by law enforcement, as well suing the Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and City of Mandan Chief of Police Jason Ziegler for maintaining policies, customs, and practices that led to grave violations of Plaintiffs’ rights secured by the U.S. Constitution.  This Court must decide whether the poorly trained defendant law enforcement agencies used SIM, freezing water, chemical agents, and explosive grenades to harm the Water Protectors and chill or deter them from their lawful exercise of the rights to free speech, association, and religion in violation of the First Amendment.

During the 1960’s civil rights era in the United States, African American activists were killed by police while exercising their constitutional rights.  People were injured, traumatized and killed for standing up for what is clearly the right side of justice. Native Americans, long brutalized and repressed by colonizing terrorists, are taking their stand in the fight for justice and environmental sanity.  The State is again responding with terror and violence in the face of a changing moral and social society.  The world is watching what is happening at the Oceti Šakowiŋ camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota.  The CLDC is honored to be part of the team of lawyers and legal scholars that will relentlessly pursue justice for the Water Protectors against the fascist police attack that occurred on the Backwater Bridge spanning the Cannonball River in Sioux Standing Rock land.

If you would like to support the current efforts at Standing Rock please consider the following actions:

–Call local and federal agencies to demand:

(1) the immediate end to construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, (2) the immediate cessation and a full investigation into law enforcement and DAPL Security guard abuses against Water Protectors, and

(3) demanding the Morton County State’s Attorney dismiss all felony charges against water protectors from the October 27 police raid.

(4) Permit the water protectors to stay at their current encampment until the DAPL’s application to drill under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River is permanently denied.

White House: 202-456-1414

or sign the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s White House petition

White House Situation Room, 202-456-9431              

North Dakota Governor’s Office: 701-328-2200

Morton County Sheriff’s Office: 620-697-4313

Morton County State’s Attorney’s Office: 701-667-3330

Army Corps of Engineers-Bismarck 701-255-0015

To support CLDC’s efforts to provide legal support at Standing Rock please contribute at

You can read the full suit below:

Complaint-1983-Class-Action standing-rock-emergency-injunction