Both tribes on the Wind River Reservation have submitted letters of support for the Standing Rock Sioux in the Dakotas. That tribe is protesting the development of an oil pipeline under the Missouri River, their main water source.
The Eastern Shoshone have passed a resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux, and the Wind River Native Advocacy Center has sent 17 people along with food, water and other supplies to southcentral North Dakota where about 1500 people are camping out. 154 tribes have come out in support of the protests, says the center’s executive director, Jason Baldes.
“That’s unprecedented. People are likening it to Wounded Knee where the people are gathering in peace and in prayer. And you’ve got the army on the hill with Gatling guns.”
Baldes says protesters didn’t expect to be camped out so long.
“There’s families, there’s kids, they’ve even started a school there so that kids can go to school while being there.”
Baldes says, contrary to some reports, the demonstrations have been peaceful.
“You know, there’s no firearms, there’s no drugs, there’s no alcohol,” Baldes says. “And it’s a peaceful and prayerful opposition to that pipeline.”
Baldes says both the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapahoe feel the Army Corp of Engineers left the Standing Rock Sioux out of pipeline negotiations. He says by treaty and federal statute they are required to include tribes since they’re sovereign nations.
Baldes says Wyoming’s tribes want to support the Standing Rock Sioux’s demand to be included as a sovereign nation in decision making affecting their water.
“We’re at the headwaters,” he says. “The water that leaves our mountains, that’s the water they’re drinking. And you know, everything is connected. We say ba nana shoonte…Water is life.”
Baldes says they plan to send more people and supplies in coming days.