BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford met Wednesday night with tribal leaders and representatives of the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp to listen and discuss emptying the camp before spring flooding, ensuring safety and preventing the camp’s population from swelling.
The governor and lieutenant governor listened for nearly five hours to Standing Rock Tribal Council members, Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, five camp headsmen and tribal members during the meeting at Prairie Knights Casino. Several topics were discussed, ranging from the economic impact of the protests to the effects of addiction on tribal communities.
Burgum also heard from Cody Two Bears, a Tribal Council representative from the Cannon Ball District, about the district’s commitment to clearing the camps before spring flooding. In a separate meeting, district representatives reaffirmed the resolution they passed last week calling for all individuals at all camps in and around Cannon Ball to leave the district.
Wednesday’s meeting included discussion of the closed Backwater Bridge on State Highway 1806 between the casino and Bismarck-Mandan, but no formal decisions were made about the bridge.
Burgum committed to continuing the dialogue in the interest of reaching a safe and peaceful resolution to the situation.
Those who attended the meeting included Standing Rock Tribal Council members Mike Faith, Robert Taken Alive and Frank White Bull; former tribal chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder; former council members Archie Fool Bear, Ken Many Wounds and Phyllis Young; Jeff Kelly, director of the tribe’s game and fish department; Long Soldier District chairman Cedric Good House and his wife, Sissy; officials from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs; Col. Michael Gerhart Jr., superintendent of the North Dakota Highway Patrol; and Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.