News / Winnipeg

Thinking of heading to Standing Rock? Think again, says Winnipeg activist

Andrew Vineberg, a climate justice advocate and University of Winnipeg student, says the movement needs funds, not bodies.

Andrew Vineberg, a climate justice advocate who volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition and studies at the University of Winnipeg, visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation two weeks ago.

Courtesy Andrew Vineberg

Andrew Vineberg, a climate justice advocate who volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition and studies at the University of Winnipeg, visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation two weeks ago.

If you think the best way to help water protectors at Standing Rock is to join them in North Dakota, a Winnipeg activist asks you to think again.

Andrew Vineberg, a climate justice advocate who volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition and studies at the University of Winnipeg, visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation two weeks ago.

He said organizers on the ground told him and friends to relay back to their networks the need for financial donations, not more bodies in the camps.

“It’s definitely a message that is contrary to what people have been getting up to this point and it speaks to the… challenges that the camps have before them in terms of balancing the needs of communicating with the outside world, and also dealing with all of their needs and their work being on the ground,” Vineberg said.

If you do plan to visit the main Oceti Sakowin camp, prepare to be bundled for winter and entirely self-sufficient, Vineberg said, adding that visitors are still welcome, but shouldn't depend on the camp's finite resources.

Thousands have camped near the proposed site of the Dakota Access pipeline since April in an effort to peacefully protest the construction of the pipeline, which would disrupt traditional indigenous burial grounds and could pollute the area’s water supply, protesters say.

Vineberg said the demonstrators are trying to protest peacefully, but reports and images disseminating on social media have shown confrontations at the front lines where police fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.

On Monday, Jack Dalrymple, the governor of North Dakota, ordered a mandatory evacuation of the land managed by the army and occupied by the pipeline protesters "to safeguard against harsh winter conditions." Previously, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it hoped for a peaceful transition from the current camps to a new "free speech site" south of the Cannon Ball River. 

Vineberg said the best way to show support for Standing Rock right now is to donate money, whether online via PayPal, GoFundMe or Fundrazr; or by mail to Oceti Sakowin Camp, P.O. Box 298, Cannon Ball, ND 58528.

At least two benefit concerts in support of Standing Rock are happening in Winnipeg over the next week—one on Thursday at the Times Change(d) and another on Sunday at the Good Will Social Club.

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