Army Corps Orders Sioux Eviction

Cecilia Santostefano

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have been protesting the Dakota Access pipeline for fear of water contamination as well the impact on sacred sites, including burial grounds.[1] The pipeline builder requires a final permit before the project may be underway. This permit would allow the pipeline to cross under the Missouri river, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.[2]

The Army Corps sent a letter to the Sioux tribes stating on December 5, the main camp will be closed due to “safety concerns” surrounding the approaching winter.[3] Additionally, the Corps will designate a “free speech zone” in which people may protest.[4] If anyone is found outside of that zone, it would be considered trespass and they would be subject to prosecution.[5]

This is not the first camp that will be closed. In October, law enforcement employed mace and arrests to clear Corps-managed property.[6] Over five hundred protesters have been arrested since August.[7] On November 20, the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council announced twenty-six peaceful demonstrators were hospitalized and hundreds more were injured after law enforcement used tear gas, “less-than-lethal” munitions, and water cannons on the area.[8] With regards to these events occurring so close to Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates the the Native Americans and the first Europeans to enter America, Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault comments, “although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the mistreatment of our people.”[9]


[1]Associated Press, Standing Rock Sioux chairman says Army Corps to close camp access in pipeline protest, LA Times, (Nov. 25, 2016, 5:30 PM),

[2] Julia Wong, US Army orders eviction of Dakota pipeline protesters’ camp, tribe says, The Guardian, (Nov. 26, 2016, 8:07 AM),

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Associated Press, supra note 1.

[8] Wong, supra note 2.

[9] Id.