THE BUZZ 2: More Residents Take a Stand

By on November 8, 2016

Local efforts to support Standing Rock gain momentum.

A Peace March at Standing Rock Monday ensued after a day of intense standoffs between the Protectors of Water and DAPL officials. (Photo: Wade Dunstan)

A Peace March at Standing Rock Monday ensued after a day of intense standoffs between the Protectors of Water and DAPL officials. (Photo: Wade Dunstan)

JACKSON HOLE WY – Chris Christian recently returned from North Dakota, and she’s going right back next week. She is among the thousands of people protesting the proposed North Dakota Access pipeline that would intersect through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The pipeline would carry 470,000 barrels of crude oil each day, threatening drinking water and sacred Native land.

Though people from all over the country have traveled to stand with the Sioux tribe, the issue has not been well represented in mainstream media. Until very recently not one CNN headline pertained to the protests. Christian, who ran in the primary election for House District 22 and has been an advocate for the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Wyoming, hopes to help change this. On Thursday, November 10 from 3 to 6 p.m., people can bring donations to the square and show their solidarity with Standing Rock. Christian says this will also double as a protest against president elect Donald Trump.

“When people have had their voices taken away, we must give them ours,” she said.

Here in the Cowboy State, governor Matt Mead recently deployed six highway patrol troopers to aid in suppressing water protectors at Standing Rock, according to the Associated Press. Christian was focused on this issue too. She recently spearheaded a petition on Moveon.org asking Mead to withdraw the troopers, who returned to Wyoming Monday, according to the Wyoming Tribue Eagle.

How to help and what comes next

The people of Sacred Stone Camp, one of the primary organizing bases for the Standing Rock protests, are asking for voices, bodies, solidarity and donations. In a recent Facebook post, they appealed to followers to come stand with indigenous water protectors: “Construction is nearing the Missouri River. Now is the time to come to Standing Rock and defend the water. Don’t wait.”

As the battle endures and seasons shift, more than 5,000 people residing in the camps are preparing for winter on the plains. Those at Standing Rock are asking for specific items. They are inundated with clothing unsuitable for cold weather and now need winter gear, including warm winter clothes, snow tires, tents, sub-zero sleeping bags, firewood, camp stoves, heavy tarps, tire chains, gift cards and more.

Christian, along with other Jackson locals (see Reporter’s Notebook, page 4), is responding to the call for support. In advance of Christian’s trip, people here have been gathering donations to send to North Dakota.

On Saturday, this reporter stood in town square for three hours to gather dozens of donations, from countless warm winter clothes to sleeping bags, Lowe’s gift cards and blankets.

The people who visited the square Saturday signaled that more and more Jackson residents relate with the momentous battle to protect Native rights and natural resources. Christine Kiely, a paraprofessional at Colter Elementary School, came to the square because she believes that rerouting or completely blocking the pipeline are not inevitable events. “This could really go either way,” she said. “Our support might matter … there’s a chance to protect the sacred sites, water and treaty rights of the Standing rock Sioux Tribe.”

Michael Yin, a mobile engineer at Slice, also visited the square armed with donations. He pointed out that it’s “not just about the location of the pipeline,” that makes this fight urgent. “It’s also about the repeated mistreatment of the Sioux’s rights over the lifetime of our country. This is yet another instance where their voice and rights have been ignored.” PJH

Bring donations to the square and show your solidarity with Standing Rock 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, November 10. In addition to collecting donations, organizers hope to incite conversation about environmental protection and solidarity with indigenous tribes, and what people can do to become more politically engaged.

If you cannot make it to the square but would like to donate, contact Chris Christian, [email protected].

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