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General News    H2'ed 2/4/17

Legitimizing Plunder at Standing Rock Part II

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Tribal programs that are funded by Casino Revenue include: Elderly Needs ($1500 that is allocated to elders 70 and over on the reservation); Gaming Commission; Paleontology; Health Plan; Solid Waste Disposal; Water and Sewer; Child Protection Services; Elderly Protection Program; Indian Child Welfare Act Program; Lake Oahe Group Home; Nutrition for the Elderly; Tribal Historic Preservation Office; Tribal Veteran Service Program and Youth Employment. All programs subsidized by Casino Revenue will take a direct hit when there is a Casino Revenue shortfall.

Due to the DAPL protests, a $4-$5 million Casino Revenue shortfall will have far-reaching and catastrophic affects on the people of Standing Rock. Services will be cut, lay-offs will happen, and money that is needed to heat homes, feed families, and repair housing are going to take direct hits - whole families are affected when the bread-winners of their families are no longer employed.

On December 6, 2016, Chairman Archambault issued a press release, telling everyone to go home. The objective had been reached and the DAPL was stopped pending a new Environmental Review and discussion of alternate routes. The future of the pipeline could not be predicted, but coming storms and prospects for a brutal winter would put camp residents in jeopardy and further strain reservation resources.

We deeply appreciate all the people who supported us with their presence, but when this storm passes, it is time to dismantle the camp and return to our homes. If the camp stays where it is currently located, people are risking their lives. The current weather is severe, making travel impossible. If the camp stays, we run a risk of further provocation from local law enforcement. Once one person is hurt or property is destroyed, that will lead to more outsized actions by law enforcement. The longer the camp stays, the greater risk we run of seeing further violence at the hands of law enforcement and potential injury to our supporters.

Our great leaders of the past would never put the people at risk of harm, especially women and children. I don't want anyone to be living in an unsafe environment. We need to stay in prayer, believe in our prayer, and begin our journey home in prayer. I believe in my prayers and in the Creator. Take the lessons we learned here and apply them at home -- unity, peace, prayer.

In subsequent meeting and conversations, Archambault continues to stress that the continued presence of the camps threatens water quality of the Missouri River. The camps are located on a flood plain and the winter so far has dropped record snow.

On January 11, the Bismarck Tribune reported, "The anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protest encampment is situated in the bull's-eye for a potentially severe spring flood. As snowfall totals mount, state officials are dialing up their warnings.

Bismarck has never recorded higher year-to-date snowfall at 57.3 inches and the State Water Commission, through the state's Joint Information Center, reports the situation means "a significant safety risk to people and property at that location."

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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