UPDATE, Feb. 3, 2017: Jenni Monet has been released. Read her statement here.
UPDATE, Feb. 2, 2017: This story has been updated with a text message Jenni Monet sent just before her arrest and a letter to North Dakota’s attorney general from a media outlet.
Journalist Jenni Monet, who last week began blogging for Reveal from Standing Rock, was among 76 people arrested Wednesday night during a sweep of a camp some of the protesters were attempting to set up on what law enforcement says is private property.
Monet’s latest post was filed midday Wednesday, documenting response from protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to the latest news at the site related to efforts to push the Dakota Access Pipeline forward. Other journalists told Reveal that they talked to her later in the day, as she was headed up to report on the new encampment. One of them, Mark Trahant, received a text from Monet on Wednesday afternoon, which he shared with Reveal.
“I’m sure she was up there trying to interview people,” said Trahant, who also has covered the protest at Standing Rock and is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota.
A spokesman at the Morton County jail confirmed Monet, a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, was there. He said she would head to court this afternoon, at which point bail would be set. Her arrest charges, he said, were criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. Monet has been embedded at Standing Rock for several months, writing for publications ranging from Indian Country Today to High Country News and Yes! Magazine.
Indian Country Today sent letters to the sheriff and to North Dakota’s attorney general, reiterating that Monet was working “in her capacity as a journalist” and calling for her immediate release. “In light of her work,” wrote the media outlet’s creative director, Christopher Napolitano, “it is clear that Ms. Monet was arrested erroneously.”
The situation at Standing Rock has been changing rapidly in the wake of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 executive order seeking to clear the way for pipeline construction to resume, even though an additional environmental review ordered in December is not yet complete. In addition, as Monet and others have reported, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in recent days has asked the remaining protesters to leave, as the spring thaw threatened to flood the main camp.
In a post about the arrests, Vice News reported that the tribe had cooperated with local sheriffs in removing the camp. The tribe reiterated its concerns in a Facebook post that the lingering protests are undermining its attempts to fight the pipeline in court.
Tribal Chairman David Archambault II wrote: “Those who planned to occupy the new camp are putting all of our work at risk. They also put peoples’ lives at risk. We have seen what brutality law enforcement can inflict with little provocation. There could be sacred sites on that property. These continuing actions in the face of the tribes’ plea to stand down only harm the cause that everyone came here to support.”