Asian Pacific Islander nonprofits raise funds and sign a banner for NoDAPL on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles.
Vowing to continue the struggle against the “black snake” of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, 50 Asian Pacific Islanders gathered Dec. 11 in Los Angeles to hear eyewitness accounts of recent peaceful protests against armed security forces.
Those who traveled 1,500 miles to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation said they joined thousands of other peaceful protesters – known as water protectors – to follow the leadership of Native Americans who were determined to save their tribal water, land, sacred sites and sovereignty without violence.
On Dec. 4, the Army Corps of Engineers halted the pipeline construction until it completes an environmental review of alternative routes with full tribal and public input.
“It takes a tremendous amount of strength to not act out towards the Dakota Access Pipeline and their allies,” said Hsingii Bird, 35, a Taiwanese immigrant who took part in the protests. “I believe the indigenous people are the guardian of Mother Earth, and we must be their best allies. That is what Standing Rock taught me.”
After a long cross-country drive from Long Beach, Alex Montances, 32, said he and other protestors were warmly welcomed by Native American women who recounted generations of violence and oppression against them. Yet when it came time for an all-women march toward the pipeline security forces, they stood strong and calm.
“Women were on the front lines. They marched up to the barbed wire and the armored vehicles,” recalled Montances, a Filipino American. “They asked the security officer