Stanley Mission to Standing Rock: walk complete after weeks on the road

Ricky Sanderson is one of eight people who departed from Stanley Mission, Sask. in November for the Standing Rock demonstration near Cannonball, North Dakota. Three of the walkers, minors, had to drop out. On Tuesday, the remaining five arrived in the Oceti Sakowin camp.

Saskatchewan walkers arrive at Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin camp

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 )

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."

One of the Stanley Mission walkers celebrates the group's arrival in the main Standing Rock protest camp in North Dakota. (Submitted by Susan ThreeIrons)

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.

Ricky Sanderson departed from Stanley Mission, Sask. in November 2016 arrived at the Standing Rock camps on Jan. 10. (Don Somers/CBC News)

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."