PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hundreds of people rallied in Northeast Portland Monday to show solidarity with demonstrators in North Dakota protesting against an oil pipeline.
The months-long Dakota Access oil pipeline protest erupted last Thursday when hundreds of law enforcement officers moved in to force activists off property owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. More than 140 people were arrested.
Background: Police clear N.D. pipeline protest
Police clash with #NoDAPL protesters
Police have arrested #NoDAPL protesters near Cannon Ball, ND. The latest: on.kgw.com/NoDAPL10-27Posted by KGW-TV on Thursday, October 27, 2016
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the owners, Energy Transfer, approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline without regards to the Standing Rock Sioux's water supply and cultural heritage," explained the organizers of the Portland protest. "Come and join us while we stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors at the Sacred Stone Camp."
The Northwest Division has control of the disputed land in North Dakota where an oil pipeline is set to pass under the Missouri river. The Portland office said their Omaha branch is more directly involved in the pipeline permitting.
A spokeswoman from the Omaha office said, “The decision has been made, it is being handled by the courts. We respect their right to peacefully protest.”
In Portland, no one at the rally was ready to concede the decision to allow the pipeline.
“This is not a Native fight. This is all of us's fight. We have to help,” said John Nelson.
Nelson says his grandson is tribal chair at Standing Rock, where hundreds of Native Americans and others are camped out to stop the pipeline.
“Lot of us can’t be there. If we could be there it would be great. They’re calling for more people to come. The weather's bad and its cold. And so they’re calling for more people and this will help,” he said looking around at the Portland protest.
The army corps approved permits for the pipeline last July. It’s now being fought over in court and on the land.
Last week, 140 people were arrested when police moved in near the river.
“This is water from the headwaters, the Missouri River,” said Rowena Jackson, holding up a bottle of water.
She’s a Native American from Klamath Falls and was near the front lines last Thursday when police moved in and arrested protesters. She fought back tears as she talked about those moments.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to maintain your emotions -- especially after being there and seeing how many people got hurt,” she said.
Nobody got hurt in Portland, but they rallied and cheered and reminded each other the fight is important and worth supporting.
“So, I feel like water is important to everybody, not just to native people but to everybody. Everybody that's in this world and on this land,” said Meanus Thompson who is from Celillio.