People of the #NoDaPL Protest (Santa Ana)

Shouts of “Water is Life!” and “Agua es Vida” rang out in Downtown Santa Ana off of Fourth and Main Street. Around 150 people congregated less than a block away from a Noche de Altares (Night of the altars) festival to “Stand with Standing Rock”. The protest was a response to the construction of the Dakota Pipeline, which if completed would pump 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline would cross the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe cited fear of both contaminated water should the pipe burst, and irreversible damage to cultural landmarks and sacred sites. Natives from all across the the continent and Non-natives protested against the pipeline in Santa Ana.

Erika Ito 22

The UC Santa Barbara graduate went to Standing Rock during the beginning of September, and attended the protest to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and indigenous tribes. Ito said, “There have been pipelines that have been built and there have been oil spills that have contaminated the water”. Ito claimed that her experience in North Dakota was transformative. Ito said, “this (the North Dakota Pipeline) should be an issue that everyone should be concerned with”.

Lance Brown Eyes is from the Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Brown Eyes said “By treaty we (the Lakota) are supposed to help out other tribes, Standing Rock is one of them”. Brown Eyes says the fight against the Dakota Pipeline is the most important battle of his life.

According to Brown Eyes, if the pipeline breaks, not only will the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe succumb to poisoned water, non natives will also be affected. Brown Eyes said, “There is no way it’s (the pipeline) not going to break. Every pipeline breaks. No pipeline has never broken, and it’s just going to be a horrible thing ”.

Xitlali Diarte is optimistic that the colorful signs and chants will start conversations about the Dakota Pipeline. She hopes that drivers and passersby that are unaware of Dakota pipeline will try to inform themselves about the issue after seeing the protests. Diarte said, “I think there is a long history of walking over indigenous land rights by part of the U.S. government, this isn’t just an issue that affects indigenous people, if there is an oil spill all across the country, there is going to be contaminated water. It’s going to be a huge environmental disaster”.

Sam Flores is from the Purepecha Tribe in Michoacan, Mexico. He attended the protest to stop the “desecrating of the (Standing Rock) burial grounds” and the effects of colonization on North America. Flores said, “All the names (tribal names), mean one thing, the first people of the land. All humans are from the origin of place of the round earth, people don’t remember that , they know it in their psyche and their spirit but they got confused by the knowledge of of the industrialized, capitalized , socialized world”.