Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation rally to be held Friday

By Lilly Mashayek, Staff Writer

Native American and indigenous organizers and their allies will gather in Scott Park for a peaceful rally on Friday.

The rally will begin at 5:00 p.m. in solidarity with the Camp of the Sacred Stone at Standing Rock and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux, who have led the peaceful protests at Sacred Stone, have been protesting the construction of a 1,172-mile pipeline that would run through the Midwest and end in Illinois that could potentially contaminate the water supply and devastate the land.

The Facebook event for the rally states that “Thousands of Native Americans from over 100 tribes are camped on the banks of the Cannonball River in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux (Dakota/Lakota) Reservation in a peaceful attempt to halt construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.”

Members of the Champaign-Urbana community are now asking their neighbors, friends and colleagues to stand in solidarity with Sacred Stone. The local community is joined by over 200 Native American tribes who are working to protect the environment.

“Over Labor Day weekend, security guards for the pipeline’s owners used attack dogs and pepper spray against protectors (as they like to be called) in a manner reminiscent of civil rights protests in the 1960s,” the Facebook post said. “On September 8, the governor of North Dakota called in the National Guard to provide backup to local law enforcement against the protesters.”

A federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s request to cease the pipeline’s construction. However, its construction has been stopped by the Justice Department, the Department of the Army and the Interior Department for the meantime, pending further discussion.

“This situation lends clarity to a remarkable array of issues surrounding care for our beautiful planet Earth and all of the people and other creatures who share it,” said protestor Barbara Boring in the release. “The events in North Dakota are an extraordinary example both of capitalist institutions aligned against pro-human, pro-environmental interests and the 21st century model of how genocide is aimed at Indigenous peoples.”

Support for Standing Rock Sioux has been shown on social media using #NODAPL. The rally will open with Indigenous speakers, followed by an open mic available to attendants. Organizers of the event stress that it is important to remember the rally is “Native-led and Indigenous-centered.”  According to a flyer, people attending the rally are encouraged to wear blue.

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