Canadian Native Youth Arrive at Standing Rock After Walking for Almost a Month

By Yessenia Funes Jan 11, 2017

Three youth from the Woodland Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada, arrived to the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock in North Dakota yesterday (January 10) after walking since November 26, 2016. This journey symbolized their solidarity with the #NoDAPL movement against the 1,172-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline set to cut through sacred territories of the Sioux people.

As the youth and their support crew approached the camp, buffalo came over the hill in their direction, in what appeared to be a greeting, as Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a Facebook video.

Though pipeline construction is currently halted at the behest of the Army Corps of Engineers, opponents are standing firm to ensure this doesn’t flip as a new administration enters the White House. For 18-year-old Ricky Sanderson, one of the Canadian walkers, this walk is also about his local battles. Canada also has two pipeline projects, the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the replacement of the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline.

“A part of this is to shed light on what is happening at home too,” Sanderson told Colorlines in December 2016. 

The walk also aligns with—and was partly inspired by—other Native youth. Oceti Sakowin youth did at least three runs in 2015. Their longest was to Washington, D.C., from Standing Rock in July to deliver a petition demanding an end to the pipeline. In October, Riley Ortega, a 15-year-old Hopi youth, and other youth ran from Flagstaff, Arizona to Standing Rock.