WHS Staff Members Respond to Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis
By Alice Swanson
In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, two WHS staff members traveled to North Dakota over Thanksgiving break to take food and supplies to those in need.
“This is an issue that is happening, yet it is being ignored by a lot more people than is being recognized,” Bond said.
Bond and science teacher Philip Taylor started a GoFundMe page to raise money to take water and food to the protesters. They donated the remaining funds to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who is the group protesting because of involvement with their land.
Bond said that it was exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time.
“The minute you enter, it’s different. There are flags of all the different Native American tribes lining the road into the main camp to show support,” he said.
“I had never seen such a large and diverse group of people where everyone was focused on the goal: stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline. Of course they were doing this in their own unique ways,” Taylor said. “Some chopped wood, others sorted donations, others risked injury and went out to confront the corporation sponsored law enforcement. It was kind of like bees in a hive where the many jobs all help the group go in the right direction.”
Taylor said he had never seen such love and welcoming before. They were thanked so many times by so many people for coming, and by the end of the time there, they were thanking others as well.
“Everyone took us seriously. There was a strong sense of community and common purpose.” Bond said. “We all had our eyes on the same goal, and the more people who helped, the better.”
Bond said even as someone who detests public emotion, he cried.
“We need to spread awareness,” Bond said. “Talk about, write about it, donate to the cause and never stop. I always think there is hope.”
Taylor said he felt like he needed to be there because of his passion and connection towards indigenous peoples.
“They were asking for water protectors to come, to help them. To stand up to the abuse of power by the local law enforcement,” Taylor said. “Native people were overcharged for anything while construction crews could destroy grave sites violating federal laws and would never suffer any repercussions.There were thousands of others helping. If they could do it, then we could, too.”