Granite State Native Americans Stand in Solidarity Against Pipeline
CONCORD, N.H. – The Native Nations Rise March received major news coverage over the weekend.
New Hampshire Native Americans and their supporters held a candlelight vigil in Concord Friday evening. And New Hampshire indigenous organizer Sterling Chase says more than 50 people were in attendance, including indigenous people, veterans and members of local peace groups.
Chase says it was heartbreaking to see members of the Standing Rock Sioux forced out of their encampments and he says the vigil was meant to support the tribe's ongoing opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"We're standing in solidarity with Standing Rock,” he states. “We are standing for indigenous people's rights, human rights, and to protect the water."
Thousands took part in the Native Nations Rise March in Washington on Friday to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some stopped along the route to build a tepee in front of the Trump Hotel.
At the end of last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the pipeline, but in January, President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing the project to go forward.
Backers of the $3.8 billion pipeline project say it does not pose a risk to public health, but Chase strongly disagrees.
"Running oil pipelines under rivers, under lakes that leak, they do fail, that is a fact,” he points out. “They contaminate the earth, they contaminate the water. It's not a good idea."
He says the Dakota Access Pipeline is just one example of the ongoing threats to not just the environment but also the rights of indigenous people all across the nation.
"Definitely human rights, and indigenous rights that are being trampled, treaties that are not being honored,” he stresses. “These are treaties that were signed by the U.S. government. They are clearly not being honored."
Among the groups that joined the Concord vigil were Building a Culture of Peace Forum and New Hampshire Stands with Standing Rock.