One of the leaders in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline was jeered and nearly booed off stage while speaking at a rally against the oil project.
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault was met with a chorus of boos while giving a speech at a rally staged last week in Washington, D.C. The tribal leader, who was one of the tribe’s point men opposing the multi-billion pipeline, tried several times to calm the crowd but to little avail.
The crowd began shouting as soon as Archambault was introduced, prompting one of the event’s leaders to pipe up and tell the crowd to let him speak his piece.
“Hey everybody let’s show everyone our unity. Let’s remain in unity,” the rally organizer told the throng of activists while the Standing Rock leader prepared to speak.
Archambault tried to temper the boos by reminding the audience that his efforts to thwart the highly contentious pipeline were done to offer a better future for the next generation.
“If you want to try to holler and shun me … what you’re doing is shunning our youth,” he said, which only incited the crowd. The boos and jeers got louder and more disruptive.
The crowd exploded again after remaining relatively quiet during portions of Archambault’s comments, most of which involved explaining the ongoing legal fight being waged against the nearly 1,200-mile-long DAPL.
“You know I love you guys. I don’t care what you guys say, and it’s okay for you to be upset. But we are here for our youth and for our future,” he said again after the activists began drowning him out with chants of “NO DAPL.”
Archambault’s relationship with the anti-DAPL activists began to strain shortly after the Army Corps of Engineers initially rejected the pipeline route – the Standing Rock chairman urged those occupying various campsites near the line to disband after the government’s decision.
Activists left the chairman’s side and slowly drifted to Standing Rock member Chase Iron Eyes, who told protesters after the pipeline’s rejection that they must continue occupying the Cannonball and Oceti Sakowin Camps, even after the government’s decision.
“We don’t stand in a place to tell people to leave,” Iron Eyes said.
He added: “This is not a time for celebration. If it’s a time for anything … it’s a time to honor all the sacrifices that have been made” by camp occupants. More than 500 have been arrested since August.
The hand-wringing was rendered moot, of course, after President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders approving both the DAPL and the Keystone XL Pipeline, an equally contentious oil project shuttling crude from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Archambault also made a strange admission in December which likely hurt his standing among the anti-DAPL faithful. He told reporters that the Dakota project “had every right to go through” North Dakota but should be re-routed to avoid butting up against Standing Rock’s reservation.
Standing Rock and other tribes believe the line will trample on tribal artifacts and poison its members’ drinking water.
A judge ruled against Standing Rock and the Cheyenne River Sioux’s attempt to stay the project earlier this month, essentially ending the months-long campaign to stymie the nearly complete project.
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