Supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline listen as members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe sing during a protest of the pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline listen as members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe sing during a protest of the pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Crowd gathers in Port Angeles for Standing Rock fight

PORT ANGELES — Lower Elwha Klallam tribal members sang as a crowd of some 150 people opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline gathered at The Gateway transit center on Tuesday afternoon.

Tribal members sang several songs, showing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline from crossing its ancestral lands and crossing under its water supply, the Missouri River.

The protest came at the heels of a statement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, which said construction on corps land can’t yet happen because the Army has not yet decided to grant an easement for the pipeline.

Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion pipeline would move 470,000 barrels of domestic crude oil per day from North Dakota’s Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

Bob Castleberry, an elder of the Snoqualmie Tribe, said he is excited to see support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and everyone who gathered Tuesday.

“You don’t have to be native to care about clean water,” he said.

For him, it is saddening to see Energy Transfer pushing its pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestral land.

“It makes me cry inside to see their history being dug up and walked on again,” he said. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to happen in America.

“If they dug up Arlington Cemetery, it would be the same way.”

Frances Charles, chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, thanked the people who attended Tuesday.

“It’s not only about the natives, it’s about all of us,” Charles said. “It doesn’t matter what color you are.”

About 60 people gathered at the mouth of the Elwha River earlier this month to show solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Charles encouraged people to donate to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as winter approaches and other tribal members plan on going back to Standing Rock.

She said that while law enforcement are doing their job by enforcing the law, it’s everyone’s job to protect the water.

“We have some of our relatives being maced that are standing in the river, standing their ground,” she said.

Among them is Vanessa Castle, a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe member, who arrived in Standing Rock about two weeks ago and said she was maced by law enforcement.

She told the Peninsula Daily News last week she withdrew from Clackamas Community College to travel to Standing Rock to protect the water.

“One officer begged me to swim away,” Castle said, adding he showed empathy for her before she was maced. “I told him I’m not scared.”

Castle said she will be in Standing Rock as long as it takes to prevent the pipeline.

“We didn’t come out here for nothing,” she said. “We came out here to make sure we’re protecting mother earth and these 18 million people downstream.”

Mary Harrison of Discovery Bay also attended the protest to show solidarity for the tribe in its fight.

“I don’t want them to feel like they are alone because they have been wronged so many times,” she said. “All they are doing is trying to protect their own water supply and land that is sacred to them.”

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Frances Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe chairwoman, raises her hand thanking the roughly 150 people who attended the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Frances Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe chairwoman, raises her hand thanking the roughly 150 people who attended the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A crowd listens as members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe sing during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A crowd listens as members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe sing during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Jonathan Arakawa, a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe member, drums alongside other tribal members during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Jonathan Arakawa, a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe member, drums alongside other tribal members during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Sabrina Hill and 3-year-old Mary Hill participated in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday in Port Townsend. The protest was one of many happening across the United States for the National Day of Action in Support of Standing Rock. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Sabrina Hill and 3-year-old Mary Hill participated in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday in Port Townsend. The protest was one of many happening across the United States for the National Day of Action in Support of Standing Rock. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

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