Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, said the tribe’s chief concerns would be providing accommodations to people camped near Cannonball, North Dakota protesting the $3.8 billion pipeline.
According to RT, Archambault told reporters on Saturday, "We're just working through some technical details as far as where the land is, and the type of land that can be used for some permanent structures."
He added that in preparation for temperatures that may fall below 35 degrees Fahrenheit for days at a time, at least ten shelters were being built at the encampment.
The Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters have demonstrating on the site of the planned crude oil pipeline for months, claiming that Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners did not adequately consult them before deciding to begin construction.
The Sioux have stated the pipeline, which would cross four states, would not only corrupt their water supply but would desecrate their sacred lands and impact the environment. Archambault said, "It doesn't have to put our water at risk."
Archambault, along with Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier, are considering a possible class action lawsuit against police agencies that have brutalized protesters and disrupted demonstrations.
Images posted online showcased a tense standoff between authorities and protesters on October 27, which resulted in forty people sustaining injuries including welts and broken bones from beanbags and rubber bullets fired from police weapons. Authorities also used pepper spray and a high pitched sound cannon in an attempt to disperse the camp.
"It's just wrong to use that type of force on innocent people…All they're doing is standing up to protect that water," Archambault said.
Amnesty International recently sent a delegation of human rights observers to note interactions between police and protesters. In a letter to the Morton County Police Department, AIUSA wrote, "It is the legitimate right of people to peacefully express their opinion," and that "Public assemblies should not be considered as the 'enemy.' The command hierarchy must convey a clear message to law enforcement officials that their task is to facilitate and not to restrict a peaceful public assembly."
The resisters at Standing Rock are also facing issues with financial resources. Although a donation site originally set for $5,000 received over a $1 million in April, there are reports that only about $100,000 remains. $160,000 has gone to yurts (a kind of portable tent), $7,000 has been spent on bail on bail money and about $2,000 is going out every day to buy groceries.
The picture is far from bleak, however, as a dedicated FundRazr page for a legal fund has already raised a little over $1 million as of this writing.