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First, I’m glad to see you think there is more fault on the pipeline/LE side then your first response seemed to indicate.

As to the evidence (or lack thereof) on the 8100 acres, the point is that we now will never know. The private contractor has a solid reputation for assisting tribes in identification of artifacts, sites, etc., so presumably he’s got some idea of what he’s doing. If there was nothing there, I’d have to ask the immediate question: Why would the construction people suddenly move their equipment 3 miles to a different site, within 24 hours of the court filing, and bulldoze the area so that IF there was any evidence, it would no longer be available? That cost them extra money, to be sure. And they had no history, reportedly, of working on weekends, so a Saturday site-destruction, 3 miles from where they had been working 24 hours previously, on Labor Day weekend no less, is highly suggestive of them KNOWING the evidence was there, and acting in a most underhanded and even illegal manner to destroy it. As to whether the land was “clear” or not – that was determined by a North Dakota agency only, not the tribes involved. It’s not like government agencies never give “findings” based on trade-offs, pay-offs, etc.

My problem with the protesters begins when they never had the interest in protesting the pipeline plans before they were on the doorstep despite being invited repeatedly. It’s not like the pipeline map wasn’t public knowledge for a while.

Not so. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST), the one with arguably the biggest stake in all this, has been involved in peacefully trying to get it moved or blocked for quite some time. The fact that it hasn’t made the news means nothing more than the “mere” fact that we’re no longer seeing any news reports on what’s still going on in eastern Ukraine. Just like the old saying, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you,” one could also easily say, “Just because the news media isn’t reporting on it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” You just haven’t seen the long term involvement by the The SRST (and others) because it hasn’t been available on CNNNBCCBSABCFOXNPR or in NYTLATWaPO.

The fact is that very early this year, SRST Chairman David Archambault II had already met with and gained the support of officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, well before the Army Corps of Engineers had expected to issue their ruling on granting of construction permits in May of this year. That’s hardly the equivalent of “they never had the interest in protesting the pipeline plans before they were on the doorstep.” The SRST was already fighting the DAPL long before it was finally approved – that’s a matter of record. I don’t know where you got your information (other than that’s the propaganda the news media wants everyone to believe). It’s simply false.
Just as one example (note the March 2016 date): http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/19/dakota-access-pipeline-threat-what-you-need-know-163776

The fact is, a huge portion of that land was Indian land as codified by the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties, and how/when/why the lands have subsequently been removed from tribal possession is a deplorable part of American History rarely taught or discussed. The protests were peaceful, respectful, but completely uncovered by the news media initially. As the government-corporate complex pressed forward, the Natives understandably became more restless. If Hillary’s USA comes to everyone’s doorsteps and demands all of our firearms based on her presidency backed by her Supreme Court, backed (and seated) by a Democrat Congress, do we condemn some who refuse entry by LE, and subsequently get into a violent confrontation? If not, what’s the difference between that and this? (Surely you don’t advocate just declaring BOHICA and turning in our weapons in HillaryWorld!?)