Media Questions Sincerity of Tribal Leader’s Call for Peace

In a new opinion piece, Rob Port, editor of, argues that anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have done little to change their tactics and that it still remains unclear if Archambault even stands behind what he said.

“Over the last days, I have spent a great deal of time, meeting and speaking with participants in the demonstration, tribal government and spiritual leaders, state and local law enforcement officials and others,” Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault said in a statement released to the media this last week. “In all of these meetings, my message has been consistent — we need to work together in peace.”

That stands at odds with the dozens of arrests made by law enforcement officers for infractions like trespassing and disorderly conduct. In fact, Archambault himself was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly shoving law enforcement officers on the protest line.

If Archambault’s goal is peace, can we say that he has pursued that goal through his own actions?

Port goes on to highlight recent comments by law enforcement officers that have been continuously intimidated, threatened, and even assaulted by protestors.

“Pipeline construction has been halted in the area of the protest as law enforcement officers have encountered weapons, threats of pipe bombs and assaults on private security,” Forum News Service reporter Amy Dalrymple wrote earlier this week.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told the Bismarck Tribune that “his officers have been threatened.”

“This is really dangerous down here,” Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, whose department has been assisting Kirchmeier’s during the protests, told Fargo Forum reporter Robin Huebner.

Archambault had ample opportunity to present his concerns last fall during the three North Dakota Public Service Commission hearings on the pipeline, but neglected to do so. “These groups didn’t come to our hearings,” said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk in an interview with the Bismarck Tribune.

As a coalition we agree with Port that everyone has a right to be heard and all viewpoints deserve equal consideration. That said, the Standing Rock’s failure to participate in the formal regulatory review process does not grant them the right to trample the voices of others who chose to be involved in the project’s evaluation.