About three dozen self-described Water Protectors came to Syracuse’s Clinton Square Tuesday as part of a national day of action calling on the federal government to reject The Dakota Access Pipeline. The group stood outside of the Bank of America to protest the loan issued to build the pipeline. Many people came to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, the native population that has been negatively affected by the pipeline’s construction. Water Protector Margaret Birdlebough of Syracuse was among the crowd.
“I think it’s important that all people everywhere show support and solidarity for this because it's our water, it’s your water, it’s everyone’s water, and it's everyone’s earth,” Birdlebough said. “And if we can stop this one pipeline, then we have the ability to stop all of the pipelines.”
Don Vanouse of Oswego came to show his support for a group of people who he says have lost so much so many times. He says Central New Yorkers should care about the pipeline due to the fast travel of water.
“Water that goes one place today will be here shortly,” Vanouse said. “Water travels around the world and what happens to water one part of the world ends up affecting the water elsewhere.”
Awhenjiosta Myers is a member of the Onondaga Nation. She just returned to Syracuse from North Dakota where she was protesting with the Standing Rock Sioux. Myers says native groups in Central New York know all too well about polluted water.
“We here in the Syracuse area, Central New York, we lived the example of what can happen when water is poisoned when it becomes toxic,” she said. “Our name sake, the Onondaga Lake is toxic; you can’t eat the fish, you can’t swim you, can’t even drink that water.”
Dozens more residents from the surrounding area stopped by Clinton Square during the three hour protest, and several passing motorists honked in support. People all around the country stood in solidarity with Standing Rock hoping to convince lawmakers to stop the pipeline.