DAPL Protestors March in Washington, D.C.
By Chezney Martin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two weeks have passed since federal law enforcement removed DAPL protesters from the Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
While only a week ago the Los Angeles Times released notice that oil could begin flowing through the pipeline as early as next week, after U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington did not accept the request made by the Cheyenne River Indian tribe to halt construction on the grounds that the pipeline violated tribal members’ religious freedom.
However, even with the weather taking a cold turn – nothing has stopped dedicated water-protectors and supporters from congregating for the Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March last Friday, March 10. The march took water-protectors from the the Army Corps of Engineers Officer (the governmental agency charged with overseeing pipeline completion), to an extended stop at the Trump International Hotel and finally, the White House. With no reported violence, the march was a national and international display of the spirit of the protest that still lives.
Proof that support came from all directions; Makasa Looking Horse agreed that positivity at the march was abundant as she travelled from Six Nations to Washington last Thursday to attend the march.
“It felt liberating to march beside so many nations,” said Looking Horse. “Although we were all there for a very serious reason, almost every person was glowing with happiness. I think it was because we were all together protesting for the same reason – we were united and had our minds together as one.”
She travelled alongside her mother, Indigenous Anthropologist Dr. Dawn Martin Hill, Dr. Theresa McArthur, her brother and Water Protector Cody Looking Horse and Mohawk Language Speaker Dawson George to meet up with McMaster University students. But Looking Horse’s reasoning for attending the march also lies in her ancestry.
“I’m half Lakota and half Mohawk,” she said, explaining that she is also the daughter of Chief Arvol Looking Horse. “It is in my blood to fight anything that will hurt my people. My great-great-great-great grandfather was Chief Sitting Bull and I often wonder what he would think about all of this corruption, how he would fight it and what he would want me to do. I had to take a stand and this was one way to do it. I kept in my thoughts about the next seven generations of every nation that was marching with me. Water is sacred, North and South Dakota land is sacred. No amount of many will ever be worth land or water.”
She explained that a huge piece of her cultural understanding focuses on the importance of water and it’s protection, especially as a woman. But, during the march she also found connections between both sides of her ancestry.
“I recognized how close the Haudenosaunee and the Sioux are,” she said. “It got me because I am both. Almost every speaker at the march acknowledged the Haudenosaunee! [The two nations of people] are so far away from each other, but yet we retain a strong bond between the two nations. It wasn’t planed it just worked out that way.”
Her experience was overall a positive one as the march proved the resiliency of water-protectors, but the disheartening purpose behind the march also looms over the positivity. As the Lakota prophecy of the black snake comes with the rapid approach of the pipeline being finalized, it will be up to lawyers to continue to battle in court.
If the legal cases succeed in favour of the nations affected by the pipeline versus Energy Transfer Partners (the company building the pipeline), the pipeline will be “turned off.”
Kasha Dawson: Water-protectors and Mohawk Language Speakers Dawson George and Makasa Looking Horse pose outside of the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. during the Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March on Friday, March 10. Photo by Makasa Looking Horse.
Protest: Photo by Makasa Looking Horse.
Taboo: Faces from many walks of life arrived to support the march, including music artist Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas.