CLAIM: #NoDAPL Protesters Shoulder Financial Burden

A new case study out of the University of Colorado Boulder’s First Peoples Investment Engagement Program makes a number of claims about the costs associated with the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Among them is the assertion that the activists who partook in the movement suffered a significant financial burden.

“Water protectors, as protesters at the camp were known, came from all over the United States and around the world to express their support. … Each of these individuals incurred costs including, but not limited to, travel expenses, food and supplies, and time spent away from work and other responsibilities. Those who participated in frontline activities and/or were arrested would have incurred additional legal costs…not to mention travel costs associated with their legal cases.”

RATING: 100% False

It is grossly naïve to assume that activists shouldered the costs of the anti-pipeline protests in North Dakota. Over the course of six months these career activists solicited millions in outside donations to fund anything from travel expenses and food to tattoos.

A High Country News investigation tallied over 250 GoFundMe campaigns and found that more than 138,000 people donated nearly $8 million to causes related to the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a separate analysis, the Say Anything Blog surveyed 285 pages on a number of different crowdfunding websites and found that over $11.2 million had been raised for protest-related activities.

Furthermore, it’s also important to note what protesters didn’t pay for, including $38 million in law enforcement and other costs incurred by the North Dakota taxpayers and over $1.1 million spent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear trash, waste, and other debris from the anti-pipeline camps.

As for “time away from work and other responsibilities,” the report’s authors seem unable to comprehend that these were not upstanding individuals courageously putting their careers and lives in hold to save the world. No, these were career activists who spend their time hitchhiking around the country protesting various projects while asking others to pay their bills and bail them out when they act irresponsibly.

Given the reports outlandish claim, it should come as no surprise that David Archambault II, the former chairman who lead the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during the anti-Dakota Access protests is a Senior Fellow for the First Peoples Investment Engagement Program.