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Water protectors gather at State Capitol

March 18, 2017
By Allison Graham - The News-Herald ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

While the Oceti Sakowin Camp at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation is now gone, the fight for clean water is not over, especially for four Iowa water protectors. On Friday, March 10, Native Americans from around the country gathered in Washington D.C. to protest President Trump's approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

In Des Moines, roughly 50 people gathered on the steps of the Iowa State Capitol on a chilly March day to join in solidarity with those marching in Washington. Also, being protested in Des Moines was the Bakken Pipeline which is set to be built from the northwest tip and run to the southeast tip of Iowa. Counties along the Bakken pipeline's proposed route include Lyon, Sioux, O'Brien, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Sac, Calhoun, Webster, Boone, Story, Polk, Jasper, Mahaska, Keokuk, Wapello, Jefferson, Van Buren, and Lee.

Four Meskwaki women, Kelly Quinn, Shelley Buffalo, Stephanie Snow, and Donnielle Wanatee were among several speakers at the rally. Quinn moderated the event and along with her aunt (Shelley Buffalo), helped to organize the rally with several participating groups including Bold Iowa.

Article Photos

On Friday, March 10, water protectors gathered for a peaceful protest of President Trump’s approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Shelley Buffalo (above) recited a poem and spoke during the protest.
News Herald Photos/Allison Graham

Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock is a fight that Wanatee is clearly passionate about and has no intentions of stopping. She had visited the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock numerous times and informed those at the rally she had been arrested recently in the Governor's office protesting the pipeline.

"We ally together for all people who want safe drinking water to live because water is life," said Wanatee.

"What do you do when your rights are under attack? You stand up. You fight back. You use your voice. We demand clean water. We have a right to it. We have a right to life. Water is life," said Wanatee.

During the protest Buffalo recited a poem while Snow sang a song.

"Often times I have found myself alone in this fight for our mother and our water," said Snow. As Snow continued her message for the importance of clean water emotions nearly overcame her as she told the crowd, "I'm going to cry."

The crowd responded with voices saying, "You are not alone!"

A press release from Bold Iowa quoted Quinn saying "I stood with Standing Rock in the fight to protect water and I stand with all Native nations for their right to self-preservation and sovereignty. What Standing Rock showed us is that tribal rights, agreements and treaties need to be honored by the US government. We support tribal autonomy, oppose any more oil and gas pipelines, and advocate for clean energy to save our water and planet."



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