With signs in hand, Syracuse locals standing in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux started their rally by chanting “Water is Life!” to the beat of drums.
They were bringing attention to the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say could threaten their drinking water supply. The cold, windy weather Saturday afternoon could not keep people away from flooding the streets of Clinton, Armory and Hanover Squares. The rally and march called attention to a fight happening nearly two-thousand miles away in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Hugh Burnam, a PhD Student at Syracuse University, believes the weekend event can help educate the community.
“The Dakota access pipeline is going through is, currently being constructed. And in the midst of that construction our relatives of Standing Rock Sioux are fighting that pipeline and we see what’s happening, Burnam said.” The violence from the police officers violence from the military on to our people who are just trying to defend the water. And so we want to stand in solidarity with our relatives out there out west.”
Event coordinator Ahwenjiosta Meyers, of the Onondaga Nation, says the situation in Standing Rock is similar to pollution of Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek here.
“We know what it is to have toxic water, we know what it is to have unclean water; we can’t eat our fish, we can’t fish in our Onondaga Lake we can’t even swim in the water,” Meyers Said. “So we’re here to stand in solidarity to help stand with the Standing Rock with all of the people that will be affected by oil leaks into the Missouri, into the Mississippi.”
The Dakota Access Pipeline will bring oil from North Dakota to Illinois crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. But it isn’t the country’s only debated pipeline. Cindy Squillace from the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a sub-organization of the Syracuse Peace Council, is determined to see a switch to renewable energies during her lifetime.
“We have to other pipeline in New York State or trying to get in so we need to raise that awareness too it’s not just about North Dakota,” Squillace says. “It’s about getting rid of fossil fuels and going to renewable energy all over the country, and particularly here in our community.”
Those wanting to help can reach out to local legislators and attend a benefit concert held at Funk n’ Waffles on November 2nd.