Sask. advocates continue support for Standing Rock protesters in wake of closure deadline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have given protesters at Standing Rock a deadline of Dec. 5 to close their main camp.

"It's reminiscent of times that our people had to be forcefully removed from their homelands"

Red Warrior Camp in southern North Dakota, set up to support the Standing Rock Sioux Nation's fight against an oil pipeline, has swelled as thousands show up in support. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given protesters at Standing Rock a deadline of Dec. 5 to close their main camp.

Demonstrators with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been there protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect access to clean water.

Two Saskatchewan women, who have travelled to the site several times, hope the deadline won't stop the protesters in continuing their cause of protecting the land and water, and believe the deadline only increases the need for more support for Standing Rock.

Tensions rising

Regina's Jessica Laplante has visited the camp six times, last visiting the camp two weeks ago.

"The weekend that I was there it was peaceful, it was prayerful. I think that what has escalated significantly is police force," said Laplante.

"The brutal attacks on the protesters seem to escalate with every action that happened."

Jessica Laplante has been to North Dakota for the protests at Standing Rock six times. (Facebook)

In a letter, the Corps of Engineers stated they will be closing the Corps-managed federal property north of Cannonball River to the public effective Dec. 5 in order prevent death and serious injury.

Laplante said she believes that closing down the camp is not the only way to prevent further violence.

"They need to not drill across the river, and that would be the best way to stop any further injury or danger to the public and surrounding area."

Spiritual Awakening

Danna Henderson has visited Standing Rock twice with her father, who is battling cancer. She says she left the camp with a spiritual experience.

"As an Indigenous person you kind of just don't know where your place is in the world," said Henderson. She is a resident of Pasqua First Nation. 

"Because language, everything was taken. And when you're there, you know who you are. It's really powerful."

She plans to take another trip to Standing Rock on Dec. 2.

Sask. response

To Jessica Laplante, the announcement was not a surprise.

"I don't think this is anything new for Indigenous people to be evicted for ancestral land. This is something that they've been enduring for 500 years," she said.

"I look forward to watching this resistance and this stand against colonialism, oppression, to see them fight the pipeline," said Laplante.

Henderson also saw this development as history repeating itself.

"It's reminiscent of the times that our people have had to be forcefully removed from their homelands. All the people are trying to protect is the right to clean water," said Henderson.

Laplante said this announcement only increases her drive to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

"I think that the prayer will continue, the strength of the camp, it will continue to stand in opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline."

Police use a water cannon on protesters during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)