Ten young Ottawa residents stood in solidarity with protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Woodroffe railroad overpass on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Posters were made at the college by a student and hung on the overpass displaying the Six-Nations confederacy flag – which includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga Seneca and the Tuscarora peoples – and sentiments of solidarity with Standing Rock.
The protest was headed by Trenton Kahontase David, a second year architecture student at Algonquin.
David is a dual citizen from the Akwesasne reserve which straddles the St. Lawrence River at the Canada-U.S. border.
He just came back from a two week trip to North Dakota where he participated in the protests against the DAPL at Standing Rock.
The DAPL has caused much controversy since April in the United States since it violates the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which stated that the land between South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming would be owned by the Lakota people.
In short, the DALP is meant to transport crude oil from North Dakota in a more efficient manner, but the drilling is taking place over sacred native burial grounds.
“Our elders are getting maced and being called trespassers when they’re trying to pray on their own land,” said David.
The company has drilling permits to go under the Missouri River, but it’s native land that was never given up.
However, the land was sold to ranchers in the area and they have now sold it to the Energy Transfer Partners subsidiary Dakota Access.
“That’s why they’re there drilling but people don’t want it,” emphasized David. “But they also don’t want it going through the river because of the pollution.”
In David’s opinion, Canadians should be more concerned and involved in the efforts to halt the drilling because we’re not exempt from the consequences that it can bring.
“We’re actually not far from it. Just saying you’re Canadian is putting a borderline on it. Just because we’re different races doesn’t mean we drink different water,” said David.
Conversely, the news from the pipeline hasn’t been as widely broadcast in Canada due to what David calls a “media blackout.”
“People would rather hear about Kim Kardashian and stuff like that – everything in the news right now is about Trump.”
Louis Bush is another second year Algonquin architecture student from Akwesasne who also attended the railroad protest on Woodroffe. He and David have been involved in other protests on their reserve before this.
“There’s always something,” said David