Stanley Mission to Standing Rock: walk complete after weeks on the road
Saskatchewan walkers arrive at Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin camp
Their weeks-long, arduous march through the harsh prairie environment is over and at last a dedicated group from Stanley Mission, Sask. have arrived in the camps at Standing Rock.
The small group left their homes in northern Saskatchewan in late November, walking some 1,400 kilometres to North Dakota to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest a pipeline there.
Ricky Sanderson and a group of walkers documented the journey, sharing their experiences on social media. By the time they arrived at the main protest camp this week, Sanderson said they were greeted enthusiastically.
"People were coming up to us, welcoming us, they felt really happy that us Canadians got to Standing Rock safely," he said. "It felt really good inside and made me feel so happy."
When the Stanley Mission group first began its march to Standing Rock, thousands of protestors had already gathered in North Dakota, and tensions were high as they fought to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline along the Missouri River.
We are trying to save the future.- Ricky Sanderson
By the time the group had passed through Regina in late December, a decision had already been made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny the pipeline access under a section of the river.
Victory at Standing Rock, but the fight goes on
It was a major victory for protestors at Standing Rock, and yet Sanderson and his group pressed on, determined to reach their destination.
Now that they have arrived, Sanderson said that protestors intend to stay, worried that if they do pull up stakes in the camps that the pipeline construction companies will move right back in.
Sanderson said they are on a mission to convince everyone, including those who make money from pipelines, that the environment is worth fighting for.
"We are doing it for their kids too and they are building this pipeline, we are doing it for them, we are trying to save the future."