North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple announced at a press conference this morning that he will be calling in the North Dakota National Guard ahead of a federal judge's decision on whether to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline tomorrow.
The expected decision comes in response to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's motion for a preliminary injunction after it sued the US Army Corps of Engineers for issuing permits to the pipeline developers. The tribe claims that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to protect and consult the tribe on the project, and that the project violates federal environmental law and the National Historic Protection Act. The tribe has asked that the Army Corps withdraw its nationwide permit for the project—which has already started construction on sacred sites—while the lawsuit progresses. A hearing on Friday, and the expected ruling from US District Judge James E. Boasberg, will determine whether the judge agrees with the tribe.
According to KFYR-TV, Governor Dalrymple has called in the North Dakota National Guard to "serve in [an] administrative, assistant role, deferring to the sheriff's department." The governor also said that guardsmen would be located at "traffic checkpoints" and armed like state troopers.
There has been some tension within the peaceful camp of thousands, between elders who prefer prayer to direct action and youths who want to nonviolently block pipeline construction. But today many at the camp, including families with children, are engaged in deep prayer and ceremony.
"We're a spiritual people," Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th-generation keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, said. "We need to stand because water, Mni Wiconi, is sacred. And we need to protect the water, whatever good water we have left here in Turtle Island, we call America."
Chief Arvol Looking Horse has written a piece explaining some of the beliefs behind the growing movement at the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp at Indian Country Today Media Network. He speaks of powerful prophecies that are well worth a read.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman David Archambault II also issued a statement about keeping the peace before the decision tomorrow. It's reprinted in full below:
Thousands of people, from members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, tribes across the nation and First Nations in Canada, to non-Native supporters in the United States and around the world, have stood in solidarity against the harm and destruction caused by the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have stood side by side in peaceful prayer.
The pipeline threatens our sacred lands and the health of 17 million people who rely upon the Missouri River for water. There is a lot at stake with the court decision tomorrow. We call upon all water protectors to greet any decision with peace and order. 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.
Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here. We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision—the moral decision—is made to protect our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources.