Wishing they'd go home
No one makes this clearer than Robert Fool Bear Sr., 54, district chairman of Cannon Ball. The town he runs, estimated population of 840, is just a few miles from the action. It's so close that, given the faceoffs with law enforcement, you have to pass through a police checkpoint to reach it.
It's about time people heard from folks like him, he says.
Fool Bear has had it with the protesters. He says that more than two years ago, when members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could have attended hearings to make their concerns known, they didn't care. Now, suddenly, the crowds are out of control, and he fears it's just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.
Go down to the camps, he says, and you won't see many Standing Rock Sioux.
"It irks me. People are here from all over the world," he says. "If they could come from other planets, I think they would."
The presence of all these people has become a downright nuisance to his community, he says. Given the roadblocks, residents of Cannon Ball are often forced to go more than 40 miles out of their way.
Not long ago, he found three teenage girls from Ontario, Canada, camped out inside his storage shed. A white woman from Spokane, Washington, came to see him for help, saying she'd come here with nothing and her car had broken down. When he was at the casino recently, someone approached him about two young kids who were on their own because their parents had been arrested.
The situation has dissolved to madness, he says, and he wishes Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman, would speak up.
"If he had any balls, he'd tell [the protesters] to go home," Fool Bear says. -CNN