“Citing unusually high temperatures and the need to step up the pace of cleanup, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an evacuation order effective immediately for water protectors in the Oceti Sakowin and parts of Sacred Stone camps… It relates to the unseasonably warm weather and the potential for flooding that’s coming…Potential water contamination was also an issue…one of the biggest environmental threats to the Missouri River right now is the camp itself.”ICMN Staff
Excerpt: Water Protectors Told to Evacuate, ICMN Staff
“Cleanup has been happening, he said, but with five to six months of debris and the warming temperatures, the pace needs to be stepped up. Eighty-two dumpsters have been taken from the camps, Burgum said, but that is only 20 percent of what needs to be cleaned up.
At the current pace, it won’t be done in time to avoid contaminating the water when the floods come. And the freezing water, he said, would be dangerous to anyone remaining in the flood plain…Burgum said that at this point there are fewer than 200 water protectors left at the camps—during the height in November and December, the number had swelled as high as 14,000—and urged those who remained to take any personal and ceremonial items. He acknowledged that there may be people at camp who don’t have a place to go, and said state and local authorities would work with them to help them relocate.
Asked about potential police presence or use of force, Burgum said that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had ‘added more staff’ and that more were coming, but that the goal was to maintain public safety.
‘But it’d be nice if we didn’t need more law enforcement,’ he said, in the hope that water protectors would cooperate with the cleanup efforts as an environmental issue, and would leave peaceably, in deference to the climate conditions.”