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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Solidarity with Standing Rock

By Don Dew, Executive Director, Disabilities Resource Center (Sioux City, IA)

Standing Rock 1 - Don Dew and DRC President pose for a photo together at Standing RockOn the weekend of December 3rd, I traveled to Standing Rock with Disabilities Resource Center’s Board President to stand in solidarity with the Native people fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. While our Board President is Santee Sioux, a lesbian, and a person with a disability, and I am a gay white man with a disability, we stood with the thousands at Standing Rock as one, united in our resolve to protect our sacred planet and the water that all of us need for survival. We wanted them to know that our Center for Independent Living and our community, 7 hours away, stood with them in their hearts, if they could not be present. It was amazing to see the community that had formed in Standing Rock, from the volunteers who are occupying the land to all those who form the supply chain to provide food and necessities to the leaders and speakers who came to bring encouragement.

After dropping off supplies, taking part in prayers and worship near the sacred fire, we were told that the veterans who had volunteered to come and help defend the protesters were starting to arrive. Looking out onto the road, there was a line of buses and cars as far as the eye could see heading to the camp. Turning on the radio as we drove away, the announcement came that the Army Corps of Engineers had made the decision to re-route the pipeline. We know the new Administration may change that order, and the occupants of Standing Rock are digging in for the winter.

When we talk about solidarity, it comes in many forms. People uniting for a just cause, bound together as one despite differences in gender, race, ethnicity, faith, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity is what makes us One Nation.

For more information on Standing Rock and ways to help visit:

Standing Rock 2 - Encampment at Standing Rock

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