The largest native American protest in recent history is taking place, with over 200 tribes uniting to stop the construction of a massive oil pipeline.
What started off as a small group of Native Americans camped out at Standing Rock in April, turned into thousands of Native Americans and their supporters who travelled across the country to unite at Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. They have been battling the pipeline construction on the ground and in the courts.
Some people drove for 20 hours, one single mother with a toddler hitchhiked, some came by canoes, there are people who travelled by themselves, families, lots of children. All with one goal to put a stop to the pipeline, protecting their water and land for future generations.
Native American groups say that a leak from the pipeline would poison the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply. A sacred burial site has already been bulldozed.
The pipeline would travel under a dammed section of the Missouri River, that borders the reservation. The pipeline would carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Bakken and Three Forks production regions of North Dakota. The pipeline is 1,172 miles long, passing through South Dakota and Iowa before connecting with an existing pipeline in Patoka.
The camp is literally a town comprised of mostly tents and Tepees. It has its own security directing vehicles as they enter, flags from different Tribes line the drive into the campsite, there are porta-potties, a school, a kitchen where all the protesters are fed and an area with donated clothes.
Cody Hall. Red warriors Camp, North Dakota.
Cody has committed all his time peacefully protesting and advocating against the pipeline. Cody says,
“originally the pipeline the was supposed to go north of Bismark-Mandan, but Bismark Mandan city officials didn't want it saying it could poison their water, they suggested instead that Dakota Access pipeline build north of the reservation, nice neighbours”
"If there is a pipeline spill it’s going to affect 8 million people as well as the environment. There are alternatives to fossil fuel, but there are no alternatives to water. Flint Michigan is a prime example of what will happen if you let poisons into the water system. America just needs to wake up.”
xiuhtezcatl Martinez 16-year-old climate change activist, hip-hop artist and leader of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organisation. Xiuhtezcatl is also one of twenty other youth who is currently suing the federal government for climate change.
“I am at standing rock reservation with my tribe, my family who have been standing on the front lines, really fighting the fight of our time. I am excited to be a part of it, to bring my art, my passion into this. And represent my nation, my people from Mexico City.”
Lavern Jefferson. Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. "we call ourselves Meskwaki." Lavern drove to standing rock by himself he was here a few weeks ago and decided to return. Lavern says,
"I am here to show support for standing rock and to stop the pipeline. The same pipeline company is also trying to put a pipeline through Iowa”
Julius Page originally from South Carolina.
“I was reading about what was happening and decided to come and take part and support. The best support we have is the numbers. It’s about the water, I have been living in North Dakota for ten years, we have had fracking spills, and it bothers me”
Julius was present on September 3rd when Native Americans and their supporters were confronted by a private security team with dogs while protesting against work being done for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Julius says,
“The experience was shocking on every level. The dogs didn't know their handlers and the handlers had no control of the dogs, a couple of the dogs started to attack the handlers, one handler was beating the dog.”
If you can't come down, you can donate or stand in solidarity against the investors. Some of the Investors the Dakota Access Pipeline are Citi bank, Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo