As young people skip classes, burn flags and protest in cities across America following perhaps one of the most divisive elections in our nation’s history, an ongoing dialogue in rural North Dakota surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline has many area ranchers concerned for their personal safety.
Yesterday’s Trending Headlines included a report on the growing number of cases of violence, theft, trespassing and vandalism that’s occurring in North Dakota.
It’s left many agricultural industry leaders wondering why the so-called “peaceful left” is not condemning this type of behavior.
NCBA President Tracy Brunner and Public Lands Council President Dave Eliason write, “Unfortunately for local landowners and ranchers, North Dakota has been turned into a war zone of violent out-of-state protests and activists. Protesters that are wreaking havoc on private property and threatening local farmers and ranchers while the Administration stands idly by.”
To get an idea of exactly who is in North Dakota doing the protesting, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office reports, “As of Nov. 14, there have been 451 protesters arrested in connection with the riots. Just 8% are from North Dakota, while the other 416 are from 45 other states stretching from Vermont to Florida to California.
“A whopping 143 of the arrested protesters have a total of 764 previous citations and charges for illegal activity. Nineteen protesters have a history of violence including domestic violence and child abuse. Twenty-three arrested protesters have a history of theft, robbery, or burglary. Eighteen protesters have a history of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Twenty-six protesters have been previously cited or arrested for drug possession.”
As more celebrities and activists join in on the fun, I no longer feel that the original concerns of the Native Americans living in the area are even represented, and despite the fact that the media would like for us to believe that the pipeline was just sprung on the locals, there appears to be much more to the story than what we’re hearing.
According to Shawn McCoy for the Fargo publication, Inforum, “Protesters claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult tribal leaders as required by federal law. The record shows that the corps held 389 meetings with 55 tribes. Corps officials met many times with leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which initiated the lawsuit and the protests.”
With outside interests sweeping in to stir up trouble in the name of a peaceful protest, even tribal members are being hurt in the process.
Valerie Richardson for The Washington Times reports, “The anti-pipeline protesters descending by the hundreds on rural North Dakota in support of the Standing Rock Sioux aren’t necessarily standing with Beverly Fischer. Or her dead buffalo. An enrolled tribal member, Mrs. Fischer and her husband, Ernie, are convinced that at least 13 of their bison have been butchered, barbecued and eaten by some of the hundreds of activists trespassing through the livestock pastures of Cannonball Ranch since the protests erupted in August.”
I’m all for peaceful protests and the right to free speech, but our leaders in Washington, D.C. should immediately condemn the violence, destruction and criminal activity. Unless, of course, they secretly enjoy the chaos as it further pushes their own agendas forward.
Contact the North Dakota Governor’s office with your concerns by clicking here.
My prayers go out to the North Dakota ranchers who are losing sleep as they worry about their personal safety, security of their private property and the protection of their livestock. May they find peace and safety despite the Obama Administration turning a blind eye to the situation.
The good news is that Mother Nature is promising some snowfall by the end of the week, so perhaps things will quiet down on their own, even with Washington, D.C. refusing to take action.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.