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March Against Dakota Access Pipeline

Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 19:23:04-04

In July, Omaha District Commander John W. Hendersen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed the Finding of No Significant Impact for the Dakota Access Pipeline project.  This allows the pipeline to be built connecting crude oil production facilities in North Dakota to structures in Illinois.

The pipeline would cross parts of the Missouri River and also cut through lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.  The tribe has since filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers.

Saturday morning, demonstrators in Omaha marched against the Dakota Access Pipeline, chanting “We stand with Standing Rock!”

The march was organized by Maria Regalado and Dale Gutierrez, co-founders of La Alianza, a Chicano group fighting for the rights of indigenous people.  Gutierrez said that it was important for them to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

"To show solidarity with the Native Americans, the Standing Rock Sioux that are having their treaties violated, for the sake of money, basically,” said Gutierrez.

Members of the Winnebago and Lakota tribes were also there to stand with Standing Rock.

"They reached out and a lot of the tribes have answered,” said Darla LaPointe, Chairwoman for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

Regalado says they prefer to be called “protectors” not “protestors”.

"We're protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline; however, we are protecting our land and we are protecting our water,” said Regalado.

She says it’s not a matter of if the pipeline will fail, but when.

"When that pipeline breaks, that's millions of gallons of oil, going through our water."

Gutierrez says this issue affects far more than Native Americans.

“We're all going to be affected and it's going to have terrible effects on everyone- white, black, native, chicano, whatever."

The march started at the Gene Leahy Mall, where demonstrators gathered for prayers, drumming, singing, and speeches.

They continued down through the streets of the Old Market, at one point slowing traffic along Howard St.  It was a peaceful march that ended at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building at 16th and Capitol.

KMTV reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers.  They could not comment due to pending litigation, but they issued this statement:

"The Corps of Engineers appreciates the demonstrator's dedication to raising concerns regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline project. As you know, the period for public comments is no longer open, and there now is pending litigation filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. As a result, the Corps of Engineers is limited in our ability to respond, outside of the litigation. We support the right for peaceful demonstration and a constructive, open dialogue."