A group of about 100 protesters took to Library Mall Friday afternoon to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the treatment of protesters at Standing Rock.
The crowd, largely comprised of Madison residents and some University of Wisconsin students, donned signs like “#noDAPL” and “Water is Life.”
Hosted by the Madison Socialist Alternative, key speakers engaged the crowd in discussion about native rights and the inhumane treatment of protesters at Standing Rock.
Much of the controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline stems from its placement. Currently slated to run through four states, the pipeline would disturb native lands that belong to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and other native tribes.
A Native American prophecy said a “black snake” would come to disturb the way of life for natives, and destroy their sacred land and poison their waters. For Art Shenogee, a Native American rights activist and founder at Madison-based Call For Peace Drum & Dance Co., that black snake is the Dakota Access pipeline.
Calling on youth to show solidarity with protesters at Standing Rock, Shenogee said he believes the younger generation will be the voice to enact change.
“I hope everyone who showed up for the protest [against Trump] yesterday, will make their way out to Standing Rock,” Shenogee said.
After a few speakers, the crowd made their way down State Street, moved through Gorham Street and finally ended at East Campus Mall in front of the U.S Bank.
Once there, various speakers, including Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18, spoke of her experience at Standing Rock.
While at Standing Rock, Kemble was arrested acting as a legal observer. She is currently facing four charges, including obstruction of evidence, inciting a riot, resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.
The city alder spoke about the “militaristic” and “provocative” tactics police officers at Standing Rock used. She said there were “gross human rights violations” occurring, largely with the indigenous people.
Dane County Sheriff’s Office recently recalled 10 deputies who were stationed out in Standing Rock per the request of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota. Kemble said she was glad that Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney made the decision to pull back deputies after hearing of some of the “atrocities” at the protest sites.
“Rubber bullets, tear gas — it’s disgusting what’s going on there,” Kemble said.
Moving forward, various speakers highlighted the importance of respecting native rights and understanding how projects like the North Dakota Access Pipeline can be consequential to them.