Water Protectors at Standing Rock Say They Won't Be Leaving Anytime Soon

Those protesting the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline are still saying that they aren't going anywhere, even though law enforcement and government officials have told them to evacuate their campsite by Monday, according to CNN. The water protectors have been camped out since the summer, and include members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe along with activists and supporters. They believe the project could contaminate their water supply and harm sacred lands.

The Dakota Access Pipeline project comes to a cost of around $3.7 billion. It was originally supposed to be built in a different location, but the route got relocated through the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's property.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has said they don't plan to remove anyone forcibly from the protest site, but the Morton County Sheriff's Department says they may block supplies from going into the camp and tell people that entering it is trespassing. Reuters reports that those who continue to enter the site could face fines of up to $1,000. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple wants the water protectors out due to the upcoming winter, which could cause injury and death for those living in outdoor camps. In a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times, Dalrymple expressed concerns about "the inability to effectively provide emergency, medical, fire response services, and law enforcement services.”

But the water protectors have no plans to leave. Tribe member Chase Iron Eyes told CNN, "We are in for the long haul."

They may have help fending off those who want them out. A group of veterans that could be as big as 2,000 people plans to arrive at the campsite next week to act as "human shields" for the water protectors, according to The New York Times.

The water protectors feel they are being disrespected by the government, just as Native Americans have been for centuries in the U.S. Iron Eyes told CNN, "You have a government agency trying to declare us trespassers on our own treaty land and threatening to penalize us, criminally charge us and possibly forcibly round us up if we don't return to the reservation."

While the water protectors have tried to remain peaceful, violence has occurred when law enforcement tried to disperse the campers by means of tear gas, rubber bullets and fire hoses. Erin Schrode, who has spoken at Her Campus events in the past, was shot by a rubber bullet while reporting at Standing Rock. Law enforcement says during these times the water protectors have lit fires to fight back, but the campers say this is not true. The water protectors plan to remain peacefully on the site until they achieve their goal.