The Comanche Nation is among the growing number of Native American tribes protesting a controversial new pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline project will carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield to Illinois.
Comanche Nation members traveled to North Dakota to join in the fight. They say the 1,200 pipeline will destroy sacred burial grounds and threaten to harm natural resources and water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Comanches say this fight is about human life.
After Geneva Hadley heard why the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was protesting in North Dakota, she said she got angry and knew she had to do something.
That’s when she helped form the group “Comanches on the Move.” 35 went to help protest.
“We all felt it was our duty, our responsibility, to go up there and stand with our Northern brothers and sisters up there in North Dakota to protest against this pipeline, which is coming right through their reservation,” said Nolan Tahdooahnippah, with Comanches on the Move. “It will affect their water, their land, their children, their grandchildren.”
“That’s total disrespect, disrespect,” Anita Onco Johnson, also with Comanches on the Move. “We would stand for it as a nation? What if another country came in and did that to our Arlington Cemetery or our cemetery out here at Fort Sill? What would our people do? That would be a total act of war. We wouldn’t stand for that.”
Hadley said when they arrived at the camp, emotions were running high on both sides.
“It was an extraordinary moment and I know that we rode into what will become history,” Hadley said.
Just this past weekend, photos of dogs and pepper spray being used on protestors, surfaced on social media.
“I couldn’t believe they would actually do that to women and children, have them attack dogs on them,” Tahdooahnippah said. “And it made me wish I was still there.”
“All we can do is pray, pray about it,” said Hadley. “And hope that the judge will rule in their favor.”
Hadley said it means so much to see Native Americans from across the country come together to stand for the rights of one tribe.
“It means unity to me. It’s great to see all the tribes come together for a fight that is not only theirs, but it’s for all of humanity.”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a temporary stop work order was granted Wednesday by a federal judge, after sacred sites were bulldozed over the weekend. The $3.8 billion pipeline is set to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2016.
Comanches on the Move are working to raise money to go back. They will also be hosting a benefit pow-wow on Saturday at 2pm at the Comanche Nation Complex.
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