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Like their counterparts across the nation, Alaskan activists participated in a national day of action Tuesday in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that is resisting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Displaying banners that read “Wells Fargo; Funding Genocide Since 1852” and “#NoDAPL” a group of more than 50 entered into the 5th Avenue Mall at noon and occupied space in front of the Wells Fargo Bank.
“Wells Fargo is a major investor in the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are demanding that Wells Fargo stop funding not only the Dakota Access Pipeline, but all fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure projects.,” said Kirby Spangler, an organizer with Alaska Rising Tide.
With chants of “Water is Life,” as many as 50 protesters marched in downtown Anchorage, while across the U.S., hundreds of other protesters stood in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota.
Wells Fargo was targeted by protesters nation-wide because of its funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction. In response, Well Fargo has said, “Wells Fargo respects the differing opinions involved in this dispute, and we understand the concerns of all parties involved,” and addition has said that the Dakota Access Pipeline project is in compliance with all laws, state, local and national, and has passed all evaluations concerning its construction.
Native entities throughout the U.S. have come together in opposition of the $3.8 billion, 1,172 mile pipeline that is proposed to cross a river upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, possibly impacting the tribe’s water, as well as many indigenous people’s sacred sites.
Marchers all over the United States are also looking to pressure the Army Corps of Engineers to put a halt to the project that spans four states.
Just one day before, the Corps of Engineers issued a letter stating that more analysis and discussion is needed before it can grant an easement to Energy Transfer Partners for the construction of a pipeline under Lake Oahe, where the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations occupy lands on the western shore.
It was in the 1960s that the Army Corps of Engineers displaced Native Americans from the Missouri Basin, when it constructed the Oahe Dam that flooded 200,000 acres on those two reservations.
In Anchorage, protesters again marched on Tuesday afternoon. They gathered at Mountain View’s Davis Park and marched to the gate at Joint Base Elmendorf-Fort Richardson. The Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska is based on JBER.