Just days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told water protectors that they had to vacate the #NoDAPL campsite by Dec. 5 or risk being arrested for trespassing, the governor of North Dakota issued an executive order Monday calling for the emergency evacuation of the area.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, signed Executive Order 2016-08, which mandates the evacuation of all persons in areas of Morton County that are under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps. The order cites harsh weather conditions, improper shelter, dwellings and sanitation as reasons for the evacuation.
Mentioning the Army Corps’ previous request that the camp be vacated by next Tuesday, the governor’s order reads, “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.
“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 Nov. 25, 2016, and attached to this order,” the directive continues. “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, re-enter, or remain in the evacuation area will be subject to penalties as defined in law,” the directive also reads.
The order also directs “state agencies, emergency service officials, and nongovernmental agencies to reduce threats to public safety by not guaranteeing the provision of emergency and other governmental and nongovernmental services in the area” without getting clearance on a case by case basis from the Morton County sheriff or the superintendent of the Highway Patrol, and warns the general public that emergency services will not be available in the area under current winter conditions.
“Any person who chooses to enter, re-enter, 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,” the order warns.
Basically, the governor just ordered that all services be cut off for the water protectors in an attempt to get them to leave.
In response to the governor’s order, Standing Rock Sioux tribal Chairman Dave Archambault released the following statement:
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.
Sacred Stone Camp has said via its official Facebook page that campers have no intentions of leaving the area.