(About 150 people gathered at the U.S Embassy in Ottawa to show their support for the people of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. Photo: APTN/AnnetteFrancis)
APTN National News
Traffic slowed in downtown Ottawa as supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe gathered outside the U.S embassy as tensions continue to rise over the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
The crowd of approximately 150 came carrying signs that read “water is life,” and “for our children’s sake STOP the black snake,” and chanted “we don’t want your pipelines.”
The Standing Rock Sioux have been a long-standing battle to defend their sacred land and water against the construction of the 1,886 kilometre Dakota Access pipeline that will carry 500,000 barrels of oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
The issue came to a head over the past few weeks, after security guards working for the pipeline company attacked protectors of the land with dogs and pepper spray.
Hayden King, a professor of public policy at Carleton University in Ottawa was the first to speak. He told the crowd that it’s important to show solidarity with the people of Standing Rock because Canadian Banks that are the ones financing the pipeline and a Canadian company has a third of a stake in the pipeline.
“So, we as Canadians, even though we might think it’s far away, have an obligation to hold them accountable and hold ourselves accountable,” said King.
These are some of the reasons Patrick Beaudry came downtown and show his support. He said it’s time to speak up about the environment. “We live off oil, we drive our cars off oil, but the risks right now are too powerful and so that’s why I’m here.”
“We live off oil, we drive our cars off oil, but the risks right now are too powerful and so that’s why I’m here,” said Beaudry.
This rally follows similar gatherings in Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto.
After a few songs, and speeches about the importance of water, the crowd dispersed.
Laura Gagnon, one of the organizers and a university student from Aroland First Nation, said she’s pleased with the turnout.
“We’ve just witnessed so much violence and verbal abuse, attacks against our people and we just feel enough is enough,” she said.
Gagnon said there’s already talk of more gatherings to contribute in spirit to the people of Standing Rock.