The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a trespass notice to pipeline opponents living at the Sacred Stone Camp — the original protest camp established near the small reservation town of Cannon Ball in April.
The notice was given to camp founder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and protesters on Thursday, saying the camp is unauthorized. That's because a two-thirds share of the 370-acre parcel is owned by the federal government in trust for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has not authorized people to live there, according to the notice. Allard has claimed family ownership of the camp land, but a BIA title status report from January found she has a 1/15th interest.
The notice says her beneficial interest does not release her from trespass liability.
In a video posted online Thursday night, Allard countered that she believed the tribe had given authorization through a resolution passed in support of the camp. The council voted 11-0 in favor on June 8, 2016.
"They are wrong," Allard said. "Maybe tribal council forgot they passed a resolution to support Sacred Stone."
The trespass order comes as the tribal council attempts to implement a January resolution to remove all Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from the Cannon Ball area. A meeting is scheduled for 6 this evening in Cannon Ball to reconsider the resolution.
The BIA is giving people 10 days to show why they should not be found in trespass. In the alternative, people can avoid being found in trespass by leaving and removing personal property. The BIA has the right to seize all property, according to the notice. However, it is not yet clear what kind of enforcement the agency would take.
In recent days, many in the Sacred Stone Camp have moved their yurts and dwellings to higher ground in the same lot. Some protesters living at the Oceti Sakowin camp also are moving to Sacred Stone, because the Oceti Sakowin camp is under an evacuation order by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effective Wednesday. The corps also owns some of the Sacred Stone camp land because of acquisitions to manage the Lake Oahe reservoir.
The trespass notice is effective for a year and can only be appealed if the BIA issues a finding of trespass against someone.
Joye Braun, one of the first campers at the Sacred Stone camp, said Friday that she does not see the camp moving.
"I don’t see them doing anything except being there," Braun said. "What the BIA will do, I don’t know .... I’m hoping they do not resort to violence against their own people."
The Cheyenne River Sioux camp that opened recently near Cannon Ball has not been served any kind of eviction notice, according to CRST's intergovernmental affairs coordinator Remi Bald Eagle. The land they are leasing is privately deeded, according to Bald Eagle.
"Certainly, we respect the decisions of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. If they serve us with an eviction notice, we’ll comply," Bald Eagle said.
The goal of the camp, which houses fewer than 20 people right now, is to help transition their tribal members out of the camp and to help clean.
The camps are in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed one-half mile north of the reservation. The pipeline is nearly complete and the company now has a final easement to bore under the Missouri River/Lake Oahe, which the tribe fears will be contaminated. A legal fight continues against the pipeline in federal district court.
Reach Caroline Grueskin at 701-250-8225 or at email@example.com