Activists to Follow If You Care About North Dakota Access Pipeline Coverage

October 21st 2016

Actress Shailene Woodley recently made news for getting arrested while protesting the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) proposal.

In a new piece for Time, Woodley explained that she and dozens of others were detained after protesting the U.S. Court of Appeals' denial of an injunction to stop the pipeline from being built. As ATTN: previously noted, the 1,100 plus mile-long pipeline would transfer more than 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily between North Dakota and Illinois. Texas-based energy company Energy Transfer Partners claims the pipeline would create jobs.

But Woodley wrote in her piece that the pipeline is cause for concern because a breakage could result in contamination. She noted the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's concern that the pipeline could put their water supply at risk because the pipeline would cross the Missouri River, which is near their reservation.

Woodley also conveyed amazement that it took her, a non-native celebrity, for the country to care about this issue:

"And what could it look like if we learned from this instance, where it took myself getting detained to raise awareness about Native Americans? What if we used it as a catalyst for a full societal shift in the way we start thinking and treating and learning from indigenous peoples? So that in the future, it doesn’t require a non-native celebrity to bring attention to the cause. "

Woodley, of course, is not alone in fighting this particular fight. Here are some other activists who are spreading awareness about the pipeline on social media and on the ground.

1. Desiree Kane

Desiree Kane is a Miwok woman and journalist, who has spent the past few months at a Standing Rock encampment, Dissent Magazine reported earlier this month.

"This is colonialism all over again: resources are extracted and shipped off for the benefit of another nation, regardless of those who have to live with poisoned water and air," she told the publication. "Colonialism is still terrorizing indigenous communities to this day, but this time we’re saying 'No. There are many people out here, myself included, who are occupying federal lands, and a lot of them are willing to put their bodies on the line and not let that pipeline pass. We’re paving the way to make sure that this won’t happen to other Native nations that find themselves in the same position, because if this happens in the future, there will be thousands of Native people putting themselves in the way, yet again, to say 'No more.'"

2. Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke is an environmental activist from the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. She told Democracy Now! last month that she has felt like the designated "Standing Rock switchboard," because many people have talked to her about coming out to the camp grounds themselves.

"This [pipeline] matters because it’s time to move on from fossil fuels," she told the publication. "You know, this is the same battle that they have everywhere else. You know, each day or each week, there’s some new leak, there’s some new catastrophe in the fossil fuel industry, as well as the ongoing and growing catastrophe of climate change."

She told Democracy Now! in a separate interview that she went out to North Dakota when she heard about the pipeline plans for that state, and that she found North Dakota has been "bending over backwards for the oil companies."

"We don’t need any pipes in northern Minnesota," she continued. "I say that most of our Indian reservations don’t have adequate infrastructure. We’d like a little help with our water and sewer systems there. I am all for organized labor, but what I want is I want pipelines, I want infrastructure, for people, not for fossil fuels, not for oil companies. So I am all for that. There are plenty of people that could be put to work."

3. Dallas Goldtooth

Dallas Goldtooth, a member of the Dakota and Dine tribes who fought against the Keystone XL pipeline, uses comedy to spread awareness about the potential dangers of pipelines, the Los Angeles Times reported last month. He recently served as an improvisational emcee in front of hundreds of people camped out in protest of the pipeline.

“At times, I do get angry and I do speak out with passion on certain issues,” he told the publication of his comedic approach to serious problems. “But I love to not lose sight of the lightheartedness of the world, to not lose sight of the power of laughter in the work that we do.”

4. Chad Charlie

Chad Charlie, a member of Ahousaht First Nations in British Columbia, has gained a lot of attention for his videos showing protestors in Fort Rice, North Dakota, which is a few miles away from the camps where authorities have set up blockades, he said in a recent Facebook video

He wrote in a Facebook post last week that he did not expect these protests to entail face-offs with authorities, and that it is upsetting for him and others to go through this:

"Today I am at an understanding that I am here because our people should NOT have to deal with this. We are here to protect the water and lands for our future generations. I don't think we planned on needing to face-off with riot officers every other day. Our intentions have been very clear - all we want to do is stop the pipeline in a non-violent manner. We have stayed non-violent. The only violence that has happened was brought by individuals hired by DAPL."

5. Lee Ann Eastman

Lee Ann Eastman, who is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton tribe, has spent more than two months at the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota, as documented on her personal Facebook page. She told The Stranger last month that something in her snapped after she saw footage of a police officer knock over an elderly person who was walking in a sacred space that had been demolished for the DAPL.

"When I saw that video of the elder getting knocked down, when I saw the cries from the elders saying, 'Come here, please, we need you...' In our way of life, when you're asked for help like that, you can't turn away," she said. "I just knew that I had to do this right now."

Update 10/24/2016 8:35 pm PT: This article has been updated to include Charlie's tribe affiliation.

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