Friday, March 17, 2017
Standing with Standing Rock
By Reginald Johnson
HARTFORD --- About 60 people rallied on the steps of the State Capitol last week to protest plans to build the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as the Keystone XL pipeline.
Sponsored by the grassroots group CT Stands with Standing Rock, the event saw speakers stress the importance of protecting our environment, particularly our water, and the need to support the Lakota people in their struggle to prevent DAPL from ruining the tribe's water supplies and sacred sites.
Natives and their supporters were camped out for months in protest of the pipeline at a site near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Earlier this year, authorities forcibly removed the protesters, and President Trump gave the go-ahead for both the DAPL and Keystone pipelines.
"If we don't change the way we're living on this earth now, we don't know if there will be a seventh generation to be able to be born, when you talk about what's going on with the water," said Carol Blodgett, a New Hampshire resident who is Lakota descent.
Zahir, a representative of a mosque in Meriden, said the Koran teaches that humans have to respect nature. Decrying the widespread damage done already to our air, land and water, Zahir said, "We have to work with nature, not against it, otherwise it will cause us harm and harm to future generations."
Christine Brooks said she organized the event after watching in horror when the police attacked protesters at the campsite.
"I couldn't stand being silent," she said.
Several other rallies on behalf of indigenous right took place around the country, most notably one in Washington, D.C. where thousands marched in the streets of the nation's capital.