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David Archambault II (Lakota: Tokala Ohitika) is the tribal Chairman of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.[1][2] A graduate of North Dakota State University, with a master's from the University of Mary, he pursued education in business and management.

In 2016 and 2017, Archambault has spoken on behalf of the Standing Rock Tribe and allied people's protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He has written editorials for The New York Times, and has spoken on Indigenous rights before the United Nations Human Rights Council.[1][2]


Family and educationEdit

David Archambault was born in Denver, Colorado, and was named after his father. He grew up with his family on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and attended the Little Wound School in Kyle, South Dakota. Later he attended the Standing Rock Grant School.[3] In addition to his Lakota name and warrior society titles, he is known as "Little Dave." His parents are Betty Archambault and Dave Archambault Sr., also known as Joe Bucking Horse (The Ol’ Bull Legged One).[3]

Archambault is part of a college-educated generation: he attended Standing Rock Community College (now Sitting Bull College), Bismarck State College, and eventually earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from North Dakota State University. He earned a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Mary.[3]

Standing Rock Tribal CouncilEdit

Archambault was elected as Chairman of the Standing Rock Tribal Council on September 25, 2013, defeating Mike Faith and replacing Charles Murphy, who had been chair for many of the previous thirty years (1983-93, 1997-2005, and 2009-2013).[4] He was inaugurated October 9, 2013.[4] The reservation had 8217 residents in 2010.

Pipeline resistance prayer campsEdit

The Standing Rock reservation has been opposing a major pipeline project that they say would irreparably damage their sole supply of drinking water. The Dakota Access Pipeline was initially proposed to pass under the Missouri river above Bismarck, but was re-routed to run under Lake Ohahe, at Standing Rock, due to concerns over the potential threats to the water supply of Bismarck. Archambault was instrumental in setting up the resistance camps on land adjacent to the Standing Rock reservation, and continues to be a leader in his tribe's legal efforts to stall the project and have the route reconsidered, including having been arrested standing up to construction efforts the tribe says were in violation of treaties.[5] Multiple times Archambault has issued press releases and legal briefs asking the federal government to halt or review the pipeline permits. He has met with politicians and spoken on behalf of the tribe, and all Indigenous people, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.[1]

In August 2016, pipeline security forces intervened in prayer vigils at the Missouri River, arresting Archambault and others on misdemeanor charges.[5][6] Archambault and others were strip-searched. When asked in October if strip searches are common during arrests for disorderly conduct, he replied that he didn't know since he had never before been arrested. He said they also searched his hair braid for weapons, which he found odd since he does not have a very thick braid.[6]

In September 2016, a federal court denied an injunction on the project. Immediately after, in an unprecedented action, three federal agencies issued a multi-agency order withdrawing permissions for construction, and ordering further review.[7] Subsequently, President Barack Obama announced that the agencies would review the process of permitting to ensure tribal consultation was included; he discussed this issue at a White House tribal summit.[8]

In October 2016, Archambault asked the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene to protect protesters against "strong-arm tactics, abuses and unlawful arrests by law enforcement."[9]


  1. ^ a b c Medina, Daniel A. (September 20, 2016). "Standing Rock Sioux Takes Pipeline Fight to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva". NBC News. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Archambault II, David (August 24, 2016). "Taking a Stand at Standing Rock". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Who Am I?". Vote Dave Archambault II. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  4. ^ a b Bismarck Tribune Staff, "Dave Archambault Officially in as Standing Rock Chairman", Bismarck Tribune, 30 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b Lauren Donovan, "Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault arrested at Dakota Access Pipeline protest", Bismarck Tribune, Aug. 12, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Why Is North Dakota Strip-Searching Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Charged with Misdemeanors?". Democracy Now!. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "In Victory For Protesters, Obama Administration Halts North Dakota Pipeline", Weekend All Things Considered, Washington, D.C.: NPR. (Sep 10, 2016)
  8. ^ Reuters, "Dakota Pipeline Fight Hangs Over White House Tribal Summit," 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ Daniel A. Medina, "Tribe Asks DOJ to Intervene in Escalating Dakota Access Pipeline Protests", NBC News, Oct. 24, 2016.

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