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Doubling down, ND governor says people can decide whether tribal chairman has control over protest camp

"People can judge for themselves how much authority Chairman Archambault has over the situation," Dalrymple said Wednesday through spokesman Jeff Zent. "What's important is that we are all trying to promote peaceful protest at all times."...

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A scene from the protest site south of Bismarck-Mandan earlier this week. Forum News Service file photo
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BISMARCK – Gov. Jack Dalrymple responded Wednesday, Oct. 12, to comments made one day earlier by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II, who denied telling the governor that he has lost control of the camp where thousands of Dakota Access Pipeline opponents are staying in south-central North Dakota.

“People can judge for themselves how much authority Chairman Archambault has over the situation,” Dalrymple said Wednesday through spokesman Jeff Zent. “What’s important is that we are all trying to promote peaceful protest at all times.”

Dalrymple told KFYR radio host Scott Hennen on Tuesday that among the pipeline protesters is a group of about 200 people who “are into a more militant form of agitation” and “provide 100 percent of the problems that we deal with.” Authorities have arrested 123 protesters so far, including 27 on Monday at construction sites near St. Anthony.

“So would you ask Chairman Archambault, or have you asked Chairman Archambault, to ask these people to leave?” Hennen asked the governor.

“Yes I have, and I’ve spoken with him regularly, and it’s clear that he has reached a point where he wishes it would remain 100 percent peaceful. But he’s told me many, many times he is no longer in control in the camp or in any way (has) control over the protesters, and I think that’s sad,” Dalrymple said. “It makes it very difficult to deal with when there’s no committee to talk to, there’s no council to talk to. This is just a random group of people that are acting very independently.”

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Archambault, texting from an airplane Tuesday night on his way home from the National Congress of American Indians conference in Phoenix, told Forum News Service, “I never did tell the governor I lost control of the camp.”

“I shared with him the dynamics and how I stress peace and nonviolence all the time – never was the word control used. I shared with the governor all the good things happening at the camp,” Archambault texted.

Zent said the governor and Archambault have had “several” phone conversations about the situation, but they were not recorded.

Dalrymple told Hennen it “might be helpful” if Archambault publicly asked the agitators to leave. Archambault texted, “When building unity amongst tribes it’s never good to ask anyone to leave. The actions are not happening at the camp. I asked that if there are any actions that they are done with no violence.”

Dalrymple told Hennen the federal government “absolutely is causing this to drag out,” noting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to withhold an easement for the four-state, $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile oil pipeline to cross Corps land under and bordering Lake Oahe, despite recent court rulings denying the tribe’s request to halt construction.

“Politics is really the only possible explanation,” Dalrymple said.

Related Topics: DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
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