Water Protectors Disrupt North Dakota Petroleum Council Annual Meeting

Minot, ND – A group of water protectors interrupted the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s annual meeting which was taking place at the Holiday Inn Riverside on September 21st. The meeting was a who’s-who of the Bakken shale fracking boom, the producers of the oil that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is being built to move. Featured speakers at the conference included both the current Republican and Democratic candidates for Governor.

A group of women from the Oglala Lakota nation along with other water protectors ran through the convention hall to storm the stage to speak out against DAPL, interrupting a speech by Lynn Helms, the director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

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I come to you in a humble way. We are elders of the Oglala Lakota nation. We’re mothers, we’re grandmothers. We have generations coming down through us. It’s our duty to protect our waters, our land, and all you guys are sitting here making decisions while we are out there suffering. We are suffering, our children are suffering, with all these different things that you guys are putting into our water and our land, our food…everything you guys do is effecting us – not just us, the Lakota people, but all of you guys- all the farms, all the animals, all the cows, everything is being affected. What you guys are doing right here is still continuing genocide.” – A Lakota woman after interrupting the Director of Mineral Resources’ speech

The protectors eventually left the building after several Minot Police officers arrived and threatened them with arrest. Around 450 oil industry leaders were present for the annual meeting, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Watch our video of the event:

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To see Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the Sacred Stone Camp and frontline anti-pipeline struggle, see below.

September 2016

For our coverage earlier this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.

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