Charleston City Council Woman visits site of North Dakota Protests

Four men in Standing Rock, North Dakota walking to talk with police. (David Stephenson Photo)

Thousands of people have been in Cannonball, N.D., for months now protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For one week, Charleston City Councilwoman and water activist Karan Ireland was in the middle of it all.

"It was almost like being in a small town," Ireland said.

Ireland said there was a school set up, medical tents, and groups winterizing structures for people who are planning on staying there during the winter.

"This is an indigenous people's movement and we're there, most people are there as allies,” Ireland said.

Ireland said people in the camp don't call themselves protesters, rather protectors. Images and videos of law enforcement fighting back against the protesters have gone viral on social media. While Ireland was there she said nothing major happened, but she said you could feel the presence of law enforcement and people representing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

"At night, there are staging lights set up for construction of the pipeline. It's very intimidating, very close,” Ireland said.

Ireland said she was happy to hear about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to stop work and possibly re-route the pipeline. She said that is a win for everyone, especially the Native Americans who are fighting to protect their land.

"This is a people who have been marginalized for 500 years, marginalized and oppressed for 500 years, and they haven't been heard,” Ireland said.

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