Activists associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests claim white people are turning demonstrations against the project into a hippie festival.
Demonstrators at the Standing Rock protests are accusing their white fellow protesters of “colonizing” makeshift campsites built to oppose the $3.8 billion DAPL. The American Indian group at the heart of the pipeline is apparently growing tired of the mostly white, guitar-playing, hippies flocking to the North Dakota campsites.
“Need to get something off my chest that I witnessed and found very disturbing in my brief time there that I believe many others have started to speak up about as well,” one of the protesters — Alicia Smith — wrote on Facebook about her time at one of the makeshift camps near the DAPL construction site.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with all of the “spiritual journey” white folks who have been showing up to camp: pic.twitter.com/K6e29i73ge
— Hvlpvtvlke Hokte (@sydnerain) November 23, 2016
“White people are colonizing the camps,” Smith said. “I mean that seriously. Plymouth rock seriously. They are coming in, taking food, clothing and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols.”
She added: “These people are treating it like it is Burning Man or The Rainbow Gathering and I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to those festivals.”
Smith also said that there are white outsiders polluting fellow activists with terrible guitar playing and gobbling up the food rations donated to Standing Rock.
Environmentalists and members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have spent several months protesting the $3.7 billion so-called DAPL. Most believe the pipeline’s construction tramples on tribal lands and potentially poisons waterways like the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
One of the demonstrators, Jon Petronzio, even called out protesters in an open letter on Nov. 3.
“We’ve had a HUGE influx of people suddenly — most white people and there are some things you should know,” Petronzio wrote on Facebook earlier this month.
He rattled off a laundry list of demands, such as keep drugs and alcohol out of the protests, avoid any sudden urges to break out in song, and remain “in prayer 100% of the time.”
The protest was sparked by plans to construct a 1,170-mile long pipeline which would run from North Dakota to Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, says that it has taken measures to prevent leaks, and that there is no archaeological significance to the area.
The company’s CEO remains unfazed, telling reporters Nov. 17 that the hotly contested line is going forward regardless of protester concerns.
The Army Corps of Engineers, at President Barack Obama’s direction, moved to momentarily halt the project again despite having reviewed more than 1,200 pages of environmental and cultural analysis over the past three years, as well as consulting with 55 American Indian tribes nearly 400 times.
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