Las Vegas Paiute tribal members plan to protest Friday in solidarity with a North Dakota tribe fighting development of a pipeline slated to run above the Missouri River, a sacred resource.
“We stand with Standing Rock — Our pipeline will always fight yours,” members of the Las Vegas Paiute tribe said during a meeting Wednesday.
In an August statement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II underscored the importance of pipeline protests. “Our Mother Earth is sacred. All things evolve and work together. To poison the water is to poison the substance of life. Everything that moves must have water,” he said. “How can we talk about and knowingly poison water?”
About 100 people made plans Wednesday to protest in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the pipeline’s development in North Dakota. The Paiute protest is set for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday in front of the Bellagio’s fountains on the Strip.
The significance of the fountains wasn’t lost on tribal member Fawn Douglas, who said she thought it would “be cool to protest in front of water about water.”
Since April, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others have been demonstrating against the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline, or DAPL, which is now under construction and slated to run through North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The $3.8 billion pipeline, with the capacity to carry 500,000 barrels of oil, was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cross under the Missouri River a mile north of the reservation.
The river is the source of water for the reservation’s 8,000 residents, and tribal leaders say any leak could cause irreparable harm, according to a Washington Post story.
Tribal leaders also contend there is a double standard, noting the pipeline originally was going to cross the Missouri north of Bismarck, the state capital, but was rerouted because of powerful opposition that did not want a threat to the water supply there, according to the Post story.
“Water is life” has become a rallying cry for the Sioux tribe.
At the Paiute meeting, Las Vegas resident Marco Incaman, 54, reiterated how important the water is to the tribe. “The only thing keeping them alive is their water,” he said. “We can win this fight with different faces in the crowd and with unison.”
According to National Public Radio, tribal members say a sacred site was disturbed by bulldozers working on the Dakota Access Pipeline, near an encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to unite in protest with the tribe.
That incident prompted the tribe’s attorneys from the nonprofit legal organization Earthjustice to request a temporary restraining order on further construction on the pipeline in that location. A federal judge has granted part of the Native American tribe’s request and paused construction of the pipeline, National Public Radio reported.
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