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Homer NoDAPL Event Scheduled for Saturday

Photo Courtesy of Lucas Wilcox

You may have heard about the NoDAPL movement in the news lately. DAPL stands for Dakota Access Pipeline.  It’s a controversial, $3.7 billion, nearly 1,200-mile long pipeline being built by a Texas-based corporation called Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline would ship crude oil across four states, connecting the Bakken Tar Sands with refineries in Illinois.

Some Homer residents are holding an event this weekend to raise awareness about the issue. They’re also raising funds to send shelter to the camp near Cannon Ball.

Video Courtesy of Lucas Wilcox - Wilcox had been providing meals to people impacted by recent flooding in Louisiana before making his way to the camp at Standing Rock in North Dakota. He traveled to Standing Rock with people who call themselves, Mardi Gras Natives -people who are of mixed African and Native heritage.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others have peacefully demonstrated against the pipeline for months, saying they fear it could harm drinking water and damage sacred sites.

Lucas Wilcox is with Shining Light Kitchen, a disaster relief organization. He grew up in Homer and now spends most of his time traveling with the non-profit.

“I’m hoping that we can take six or seven teepees up to the Standing Rock and set them up because shelter was a primary concern that they had mentioned. They’ve been getting a lot of food and clothes from different directions and firewood is coming in kind of slowly, but shelter was a big concern for people just to make sure that there is a way to house anybody that came to support that place,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox just returned from the camp where he brought his non-profit kitchen to feed demonstrators who call themselves water protectors.

“I was feeding people in the camp but I wasn’t on the front lines, but a lot of people on the front lines were describing just a militarized police type of situation that you would see in a combat zone,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox was at the camp about two weeks ago and plans to go back soon.

Fritz Creek resident John Sheipe is helping organize Homer’s NoDAPL event. He says after seeing photos and video on social media of clashes between police and demonstrators he knew he had to help.

“Well you know the way humans are treating humans right now is really disgusting me. The way that they are handling things is just, it brings a lot of sorrow to my heart to see that. And I love Native Americans deeply and I love water too. I have a hard time looking at the pictures of what’s going on—people just being disrespected on so many levels. I think that’s hitting a cord with so many people and I just want to help,” said Sheipe.

According to the New York Times, recent clashes between police and water protectors have resulted in more than 400 arrests since August. In recent weeks, tensions have escalated and officers have used mace and pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Sheipe says even though not everyone can go physically to North Dakota, they can help by sending supplies. He says shelter is the most immediate need at the growing camp where North Dakota’s frigid winter is fast approaching.

“Shelter was one of the main needs. Lucas came into my life all of the sudden, recently once again, and he had access to teepees so I just started thinking, and you know if we can get this need met, as far as a monetary need for these teepees, then we can have them [in North Dakota] within days,” said Sheipe.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contends the agency didn’t properly consult the tribe before granting permits for the project.

The federal government in September ordered a temporary halt to construction on Army Corps land around and beneath Lake Oahe while the agency reviews its permitting of the project. The construction continued against the request. There's no timetable for a decision.

President Obama recently said the pipeline may be re-routed.

The NoDAPL event in Homer is scheduled to take place at K-Bay Café in downtown Homer from 3-6 p.m on Saturday. Shiepe’s reggae band ‘Uplift’ will play at the event.

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Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.