News / Calgary

U of C students paint ‘the rock’ for Standing Rock

Students painted a medicine wheel to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation

Roderick Eashappie helps paint a medicine wheel on the U of C's iconic rock.

Elizabeth Cameron/For Metro

Roderick Eashappie helps paint a medicine wheel on the U of C's iconic rock.

People from all different backgrounds in Calgary are finding ways to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.

As part of a global day of action to raise awareness about the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s efforts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built, students at the University of Calgary painted a medicine wheel on the iconic rock on campus.

“Anybody who goes to school here is able to paint this rock,” said Roderick Eashappie, a first-year student at U of C.

He explained that the medicine wheel represents all life on Earth in many indigenous cultures.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline is not good for the environment, period. The land they want to build on is treaty territory,” Eashappie said, adding that first and foremost, the pipeline is an environmental concern.

“(Land has) always been taken away from us, bit by bit over the years. We’re going to be left with nothing salvageable in the future, for anybody,” he said.

Students and faculty alike showed up to watch the rock get covered in black, red, yellow, and white paint. The colours represent the four directions, although the specific meaning varies between nations.

“A lot of people don’t know whats happening, or have the wrong idea of what’s happening in Standing Rock,” said Justine Keefer, an indigenous studies student in her second year, who was at the painting session. She recently wrote a paper for class about land rights and the need for consultation with indigenous people on projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“It’s important to bring awareness. Hopefully it will raise questions for people, and start a conversation,” she said. 

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