Yakama Nation leaders join national tribal solidarity at pipeline protest in N. Dakota

Washington tribal leaders join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Photo: Yakama Nation)

NEAR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, N.D. (AP) - Native Americans from reservations hundreds of miles away from North Dakota have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's growing protest against a $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline that they say could disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for 8,000 tribal members and millions further downstream.

About 30 people have been arrested in recent weeks, and the Texas-based company has temporarily stopped construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Yakama Nation tribal leaders and community members went to North Dakota over the weekend to join the pipeline protests. Yakama Nation tribal leaders joined the reportedly peaceful protest Tuesday, and according to Yakama Nation official stood with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the banks of the Cannonball River to oppose the pipeline's construction.

"Yakama is humbled and honored to stand beside our brothers and sisters of the Standing Rock Sioux. We, along with peoples of all walks of life, are observing a peaceful and prayerful gathering to move an entire country. We stand united in solidarity with the natural laws of this land, advocating for responsible decision making and honorable communications. Together, we express to the U.S. government that now, more than ever, is the time to fulfill the trust obligations laid out within the treaties and historical interactions with the Native peoples of this land. Until such things come to pass, the spirit and voice of all peoples shall unite with Standing Rock. One voice, one heart, and one spirit to speak for those things that cannot speak for themselves. Nye," said JoDe Goudy, Chairman of the Yakama Nation.

Tribal leaders from all over Washington state joined the protest including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Lummi Nation, Puyallup Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Hoh Tribe.

A federal judge will rule before Sept. 9 on whether construction can be halted on the Dakota Access pipeline, which will pass through Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota.

One of the protesters is an 11-year-old Navajo girl who sold about 50 homemade soaps and gave the money to protest organizers. Her own home has no running water, and her sales pitch was "I don't want water to be poisoned."

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