They’re back: Dakota Pipeline Protesters Set Up Camp to Back Iowa Farmers

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa — The last thing Iowa County farmers expected to crop up amid their well-groomed corn and soybean fields was a permanent pipeline protest camp, given that the county has no pipeline. But after the collapse of the Dakota Access protest in February, Christine Nobiss of the Indigenous Iowa blog returned to the Hawkeye State and founded the Little Creek Camp, a collection of tents and teepees dedicated to keeping the spirit of Standing Rock alive. Railing against the Dakota Access pipeline may seem futile, given that the $3.8 billion project is slated to go into service on June 1, but “the point of this camp goes beyond a pipeline, I can tell you that,” Ms. Nobiss said.

“This camp is a think tank,” she said. “This camp is long-term in terms of building an eco-village, a sustainable community. We’re here to help local farmers fight Monsanto.” Not all of those farmers are interested in their help. Organizers describe Little Creek as a “prayer and healing camp,” a kind of pit stop for activists, but locals such as Lance Schaefer are worried that the encampment could blow up into the kind of melee that devastated south-central North Dakota.

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“Some people say, ‘Give them the benefit of the doubt,’ but once the horse is out of the barn, you can’t get him back in that easily,” Mr. Schaefer said. “We’re warning you and telling you, ‘This is what happened in North Dakota. It’s very similar to what’s happening in Iowa, and you should not let them get a foothold.’” At this point, however, the neighbors don’t have much choice. The 14-acre property is owned by Max Hilton, who lives elsewhere but agreed to allow Ms. Nobiss to set up the Little Creek Camp on his plot, which now houses as many as 20 activists.

Iowa County Sheriff Robert Rotter said he:…new-camp-/

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