CANNON BALL, N.D.-The original pipeline protest camp on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation closed Wednesday, as the Bureau of Indian Affairs encouraged people to go home rather than be found trespassing.
The final campers left the Sacred Stone Camp after days of hurried cleanup that followed a warning from the BIA that the campers were trespassing on land majority-owned in trust for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The camp on the reservation is just south and near the main protest camp called Oceti Sakowin that was on Army Corps of Engineers land and cleared out last week.
The Rev. John Floberg, an Episcopal priest on Standing Rock, who was in the Sacred Stone camp over the past few days, said people left after notice from the BIA, because they wanted to go on their own terms.
"People saw Oceti go up in flames and they were determined that not happen at Sacred Stone," Floberg said. "They knew what the boundary was, and they respected the boundary that was set."
About 150 people left during the day on Tuesday, and the final 25 left on Wednesday, he said. Most people moved out of the area with the help of some weekend fundraising for bus tickets and gas cards. Some went to the powwow grounds in Eagle Butte, S.D., where the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has invited people to stay.
"The people at Sacred Stone worked exceedingly hard to do as much as they possibly could in breaking down that camp, preserving property, preserving the land, preserving as best they could relations on Standing Rock," he said.
Over the past several days, campers took down the yurts and some other structures, Floberg said. Other donations and teepees are left there, and the tribe is expected to help gather them and clean up remaining debris.
The protesters' move came after the BIA handed out a final notice of trespass to campers remaining at Sacred Stone on Monday. They were first alerted they were trespassing on Feb. 15. According to the BIA, founder Ladonna Allard's family owns a third share in the land and the federal government owns the rest in trust for the tribe.
The camp was founded in April in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. For the first several months, it had the support of the tribe. In recent months, Allard spoke of turning the quasi-village into an "eco-camp to teach people to live on Earth again" and offer some services to the town of Cannon Ball.
But in January, the tribe asked the BIA for help getting the protesters to leave the Cannon Ball area, where community members passed a resolution against the campers. Many locals were frustrated with the closure of the Backwater Bridge, use of the local gym and alcohol and drug use in the area, though some also supported the camps.
Allard did not respond to a phone and text message for comment on Wednesday. A BIA spokeswoman also did not respond to a request for comment.
Cannon Ball District Chairman Robert Fool Bear said his community was happy to hear the camp was closed. He expects the Seventh Generation/Blackhoop camp, which has also received a trespass notice, will meet a similar fate soon.
"We just need to get back to doing what we were doing prior to all of this," Fool Bear said