Native Nations Rise brings DAPL protest to Washington
Thousands of Native Americans have rallied in the US capital to protest against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and raise awareness of indigenous rights, Al Jazeera has reported.
With snow falling on Friday morning, demonstrators marched to the White House, stopping on the way at the Trump International Hotel to erect a tepee.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has been involved in a long-standing dispute with authorities over the pipeline in North Dakota, led the Native Nations Rise march along with advocacy groups.
The tribe has argued in court that the pipeline crosses sacred land, was approved by the government without adequate consultation, and would contaminate its water supply.
“Water is life,” chanted Jobeth Brownotter, a Standing Rock member who had travelled for 32 hours by bus from South Dakota.
“We came here to stand up for our people, for water, for our rights, for future generations,” she told Al Jazeera.
Betsy Richards of the Cherokee Nation, living in New Jersey, marched under a huge pipeline-shaped puppet with the text “No consent, no pipeline”.
“When things are happening on native lands, we need to not just be informed of what the government is doing to us, but to have consent as native nations,” she said.
Others carried banners reading “Native Lives Matter”, referring to the disproportionate rate at which Native Americans are killed by police.
The march comes days after a federal judge ruled against a request by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to stop construction of the last section of the Dakota pipeline, which would cross under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation reservoir.
The pipeline is due to be complete and ready for oil by April 1.