RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Thousands of people are "protecting" in North Dakota against a $3.6 billion pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says that this project disrupts their land and way of living.
Dozens of tribes are uniting in what is being called the largest Native American protest in history, but they say this fight is bigger than them. Protectors say the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) can contaminate the Missouri River, which is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's source of water. The tribe recently discovered that there is also a sacred burial site and filed suit in federal district court September 2nd. The following day, bulldozers were in motion and tensions rose high. Protectors marched to stop the construction workers. The company's security released canines that bit dozens of people including a pregnant woman and young child.
"That this is a human issue. Money isn't an end all or be all of everything," said Carrie Brown, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal member. "It does give me a sense of hope and belonging that there are people out there like, people from my tribe. Like people from my husband's tribe, that are willing to put their lives on the line for our children."
The 1,172-mile pipeline will cross through four states, including the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois. It could shuttle 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The Army Corps of Engineers approved the project back in July.
"It's a monumental fight that's happening, and it doesn't just affect the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, but it affects everyone who drinks water and everyone who has excess water," said Autumn Harry, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal member.
Harry is a University of Nevada-Reno college student who will be standing side by side with other protectors in North Dakota. She is making the journey alone but says it is important to support her fellow sisters and brothers. Harry said she plans to document online what is really happening. "So many media outlets are not reporting on this issue. And the media outlets that are, a lot of the time is really negative, saying that people at the Standing Rock Camp are violent and that they have weapons," said Harry.
Harry says that it won't be an easy battle, but they won't 'give up easily, "We're really resilient people, and we're going to fight as hard as we can to protect our resources."
High-profile supporters are also voicing their stance on social media.
Supporters of the pipeline say this project will help create 8,000 to 12,000 local jobs during the construction.
North Dakota Governor Dalrymple issued National Guards to provide assistance to officers at the pipeline protest Thursday.
Federal Judge James Boasberg will rule on this injunction Friday, September 9th.
To help donate to those at Standing Rock, you can click here.