Indigenous youth from northern Sask. walking to Standing Rock

A group of Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in North Dakota in support of protests against the North Dakota Access Pipeline.

Group from Stanley Mission passed through Regina Tuesday morning

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie walking south of Regina on Highway 6, is one of eight Stanley Mission residents walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in support of the protests towards the Dakota Access Pipeline. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

A group of eight young Indigenous men and women from Stanley Mission, Sask., passed through Regina on Tuesday as part of a 1,400-kilometre journey on foot. 

Their destination is the heart of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest located at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation near Cannon Ball, N.D.

The group has already walked more than 700 kilometres.

The organizer of the walk, Ricky Sanderson, said that the Husky Energy spill that happened earlier this year in central Saskatchewan was what sparked the idea for the trek.

"I was worried about my grandparents' community," said Sanderson. "They're from James Smith (Cree Nation) and that pipeline leak was not far from their house."

An oil leak from a Husky Energy pipeline in July 2016 affected the water supply for the cities of Prince Albert and North Battleford. 

The James Smith Cree Nation, located approximately 75 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, was also affected by the spill.

Eight Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to create awareness about pipeline risks to the environment. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Sanderson said he is walking to create awareness for the potential damage pipelines could cause to the environment and to create awareness for future generations.

"If these pipelines go through our sacred burial grounds, our sacred lands, it will really affect the animals and the water we drink."

We need to be there for Standing Rock- Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie is one of the walkers and she believes that it's important for people to understand the potential disasters pipelines could cause.

She said the Standing Rock protests inspired her to take part in the journey from Stanley Mission.

The Standing Rock protests were a response to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The 1,900-kilometre, four-state pipeline was to be built near Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation and intended to run underneath a Missouri river reservoir.

Construction was halted in November by the United States government, however Roberts-McKenzie believes that it is only a temporary stop and now is the time to stand beside Standing Rock residents.

"We need to be there for Standing Rock," she said. "We just want to support them to keep going and to stay strong."