Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Cleanup Begins

Oceti Sakowin 01/30/17 The Cleanup Begins
Jan. 30, 2017 was the deadline to be out of the camps at Standing Rock. There were threats of violence and military intervention to clear the camp. It was said anyone who was not out by the 30th would lose their belongings and the camp would be cleared with heavy equipment under guard. As it turned out all of that was hype and rumor spread by people who really don’t know as much as they claim.


On Jan. 28 I was with some friends in security when the announcement came over the radio that an agreement had been made between Oceti Sakowin leaders and the governor. It was agreed that the governor would pull his militia back and not “raid” the camps if the Water Protectors would also pull back and refrain from acts of violence.
He also agreed to remove the razor wire and “some” of the concrete barriers at the backwater bridge on Hwy 1806. I watched as they began that process. The razor wire has been cut and all of the concrete barriers are off the bridge. They are still piled up blocking the road but I feel like those will be gone today or sometime in the near future.

The crews showed up around 9:30 AM with a convoy of loaders, track hoes, bobcats, snow plows and men to run them but no military force set to eject us forcefully.

I watched as volunteers went from abandoned tent-to-tent checking them for people and or usable supplies. What was usable or identifiable was collected and the rest was removed using heavy equipment to sort through the deep snow. One track hoe operator was using his machine to break open the snow clods and pick out trash. At one point I saw him use it to pick up a single piece of cardboard from the ground.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of them working today still cleaning up the mess left behind by thoughtless campers who just simply pulled up stakes and left everything behind. It was good to have such a show of force but leaving the mess for others to clean up unacceptable.

The new camp at Black Hoop will not be treated in this manner. We remain and will always remain a prayer camp with cultural learning in the mix.

Thanks to all who camp out to stand with us but if you can find the means to return we sure could use the help moving camps and cleaning up before the Spring floods.



  1. So happy there were people willing to volunteer their time to help with cleanup. Somewhat shocked so many people just left their garbage for someone else to clean up. Definitely need a plan to get rid of refuse at the next camp. I saw photos, looked like a dump. With self respect comes the energy that creates the abundance in our outer world. Blessings of love and light. I am with you all in spirit until I am well enough to be there in body.

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