On February 16th Veterans and water protectors met with government, ARMY Corp and DAPL officials to discuss the North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum’s executive orders to evacuate the Oceti Sakowin Camp and other camps at Standing Rock “to avoid an ecological disaster to the Missouri River caused by months of accumulated debris generated by the activists which occupied the camps”. The governor gave activists until the afternoon of February 22 to leave.

In his Facebook page activist Joseph Hock replies to Burgum’s accusations admitting that “with an estimated 100,000+ people that have visited Standing Rock, and an estimated 7000+ people living at Oceti Sakwoin Camp at one time, a human imprint has been made. On that note, to assume that the Water Protectors were leaving trash lying around, and disrespecting the land is not a truthful claim. People have been working day in, day out in shifts to help clean and protect the waters from the camps imprint. There is a good amount of cleanup still needed to be completed. Anyway” Hock concludes, “any damage of this camps imprint cannot be comparable to the amount of damage of 100,000+ gallons of oil spilling into the Missouri River.”

Veterans from both Veterans-Stand and VeteransRespond have arrived to assist in the cleanup efforts of camp.

“I am honored for each Veteran that has come to stand with us. To come help defend. To come help clean. To come help heal this land” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the Lakota historian and activist who in April 2016 founded Sacred Stones, the first resistance camp against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She  thanked all the Veterans that have come to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the first nation’s people.