Why I decided to launch a Revelstoke Standing Rock solidarity protest

Revelstoke group launches Standing Rock solidarity protest in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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A Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Photo: Creative Commons image by Fibonacci Blue

By Kate Borucz

I was sitting at home, feet up on the couch, tucked in a blanket and taking liberal, breathless gulps of water out of my Nalgene bottle when I read a friend’s Facebook post about the water protectors of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

She had posted a video of peaceful protestors being hosed down with cold water with extreme pressure, in near freezing temperatures. All because they refuse to let go of their traditional lands for pipeline development.

How easily I’ve taken these apparent comforts — my blanket and water, for granted.

Her post went on to say that access to one of the three protector camps will be closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for “safety reasons” on Monday, December 5. She was looking for friends in Revelstoke who would be interested in helping her organize an event — a vigil to let the people who are defending their lands, their access to clean water, and their children’s future, close to 2,000 kilometres away know that we are standing with them.

I’ll be honest, there was hesitation in my decision making process.

‘Can I find the time?’

‘If so, can I spare it?’

‘How much work will this involve? It is opening weekend at the resort, after all.’

But, then the guilt of selfishness washed through me and I quickly realized that the water protectors represent something I’ve always believed: that water is a human right, and no corporate profit monger can take that away.

So I picked myself up my boot straps and replied to my friend’s post, “I’ll help.” and it was the simplest form of an act of solidarity I can accomplish.

So we got together early Monday morning and thought of what we can do, with our main objective being that we raise awareness, create a platform for discussion, and symbolically stand with those putting in the hard work in North Dakota.

We have now organized a protest for Revelstoke. You can find out the details here.

We are very lucky in our community to have access to clean water for consumption, recreation, and livelihood, but that is not the reality everywhere. The Sioux Tribe is currently blocking access of the $3.7 billion, nearly 2,000-kilometre Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from ripping through their community.

Their protest is being met with hostile reinforcement from local, state, and federal levels with the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, concussion grenades, sound cannons, and the above mentioned, water cannons.

The multi-billion dollar conglomerate which is funding the development of DAPL has avoided environmental assessment and public presentation by breaking the project down into half-acre projects, and the water protectors are asking that the corporation be compliant with the law in the spirit of democracy. The pipeline would be disrupting 209 water bodies and access to clean water to 20 million users, after all.

If you are like me and looking for ways to show support, than please join us on Sunday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Workers’ Memorial archway on the Greenbelt in Centennial Park. Bring a headlamp or candle, so that we may shine a light on the issue and come together to show our solidarity with the water protectors. The idea of having to fight to protect our right to clean water, for environmental justice, and assure that humanity is considered before profit is a farce, it should be common sense.

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Do you have thoughts, opinions, ideas or events you’d like to share with the community? We welcome your input and encourage direct submissions from the community, like this one. Get in touch with the Revelstoke Mountaineer at info@revelstokemountaineer.com.

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