On a plaza on the University of Wyoming campus, Northern Arapaho member Micah Lott told his story of serving on the frontlines of the pipeline protests. He said he even saw his sister arrested there. He said, they both underwent nonviolence training before going. But with Donald Trump's election, it’s unclear what’s next for the protests.
“A lot of people felt like we’d be comfortable with a different candidate, but now we have to accept reality” said Lott. “And reality is Donald Trump is going to be our president and we have to work with him.”
Gabriel Spoonhunter also attended the protests. He said they’re changing native communities. For him, the temptation has been to abandon everything to support the cause.
He laughed as he said, “I was like, I don’t need to be in class! That’s when my boss was like, um, you need to be in school because education is very important. More and more you begin to see more people inspired by this to go into environmental sciences, environmental research, renewable energy.”
Military veteran Nancy Sindelar said, although she’s not Native American, she went to North Dakota to support the protesters.
“I am now serving my country for the first time," said Sindelar. "Other veterans, you’re needed up there. If you’re a vet, get up there and defend your country. This is what we need.”
Protesters led the crowds in chants in both Sioux and Arapaho announcing, “Water is Life.” The Keepers of the Fire, a UW organization, hosted the event to educate University of Wyoming students and faculty about the pipeline issue and to collect winter camping donations to deliver to the protests.
The group plans to send more protesters to North Dakota next week.