Mainers rally in solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline resistance

More than a hundred Mainers gathered in Congress Square Park in Portland on Saturday to show support for the indigenous communities, farmers and other landowners engaged in a non-violent protest against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

If built, the 1,200-mile pipeline will carry approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken oil fields, in North Dakota, to a distribution center in Illinois. The pipeline’s proposed path cuts across land sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and crosses the Missouri River less than a mile upstream of their Reservation’s drinking water supply.

“We are all united in our need for water,” Dawn Neptune Adams of the Penobscot Tribe in a statement.  “We have a responsibility to stand up not only for ourselves and our future generations but for all of our Relatives; the finned, four-legged, winged, and Standing Still people who are threatened by a future where the water is too poisonous to drink and the air too foul to breath.  Indigenous prophecies from around the world tell us of a time when we will rise as One to reject the old paradigm of greed and destruction and usher in a new paradigm of unity and cooperation.  The time is now. Nəbi Bəmαwəzəwαgan (Water is Life).”

Co-sponsored by 350 Maine, Sierra Club, the Maine Peoples Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Community Water Justice, Environment Maine, the Southern Maine Workers Center and Protect South Portland, the weekend event brought together environmentalists and indigenous people in the fight to stem the rising tide of climate change and to protect water resources.

“Native Americans gathered in North Dakota are standing up in unison and sounding an alarm: By virtue of extreme energy extraction—which is abusing water below, above, and on the ground—this most precious of all resources on our planet is under siege,” said Lee Chisholm of 350 Maine. “We stand today in solidarity with our country’s indigenous people, grateful for their voice and their reverent preservation of nature’s bounty for thousands of years.”

The resistance against the pipeline began last April with just a handful of Standing Rock tribal members. Now, more than 4,000 people have joined the action, with some 280 different North American tribes represented.

The rally in Portland was one of several in Maine and approximately 200 others across the country, part of a national week of action to stand in spirit with those on the front lines of opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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