Local activists who went to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation to deliver donations in November will present their experiences to the public Sunday. (Megan Claflin/Pacific Northwest Stands with Standing Rock)

Local activists who went to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation to deliver donations in November will present their experiences to the public Sunday. (Megan Claflin/Pacific Northwest Stands with Standing Rock)

Report from Standing Rock: Group that visited from Port Townsend to present tales, photos

PORT TOWNSEND — Members of the Pacific Northwest Stand with Standing Rock group will present photos and stories from their time protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

The presentation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave. It is free and open to the public, although donations will be accepted.

The presentation was part of the group’s promise to members of the Standing Rock Sioux, said Megan Claflin, spokeswoman for the group who spent a week at the reservation in November.

“When we met with tribal members, there were four takeaways,” Claflin said. “One of those was ‘bring it home’ — to take our experiences and take them to our communities. Part of the presentation is fulfilling that promise.”

The group joined thousands of protesters who opposed the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe. The pipeline would transfer oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The $3.7 billion pipeline would transport about 470,000 barrels of domestic crude oil a day.

Nearly all of the 1,172-mile pipeline has been built by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners except for a mile-long section across federal land and beneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir.

On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would reject a request for an easement of the pipeline under Lake Oahe, effectively stopping it.

However, President-elect Donald Trump has said he favors the pipeline.

Claflin said group members hope to both educate people on the Standing Rock protests and help people find ways to continue to support the Standing Rock Sioux.

“We found, before we went there and now that we’re back, that getting information on what is happening can be hard,” Claflin said.

“It’s hard to find where things fall on that spectrum of truth. So we’re sharing what we saw and heard there, since they’re our experiences.”

Since the Army Corps of Engineers decision, tribal officials have asked the protesters who have been camped out for months to start making their way back home, Claflin said.

“Since people don’t feel like they can go there to help, we want to help them find ways to help by working with the tribe to find out what they need,” Claflin said.

“We still want to keep Standing Rock in people’s minds.”

The group — made up of residents of Jefferson, Clallam, Whatcom and King counties — traveled to Standing Rock Nov. 21 and stayed through Nov. 27.

The group of more than 40 people, ages 3 to 65, drove to North Dakota on a bus donated by the New Old Time Chautauqua with more than $20,000 in donations of camping gear, cloths and food donated from a variety of local businesses and farms including Cape Cleare Fishery, FinnRiver Farm, Mt. Townsend Creamery, Pane d’ Amore and Sunrise Coffee.

According to Claflin, they were nicknamed the “Salmon Camp” due to the salmon dinners they fed to more than 1,000 protesters.

“We received overwhelming support from community members,” Claflin said. “Part of this is giving back to them since without them, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Members of the local Stand with Standing Rock group also will conduct a rally outside of the Wells Fargo on the corner of Kearney and Water streets Saturday.

The protests are a weekly event organized by Doug Millholland to urge people to take their money out of Wells Fargo banking because Wells Fargo has a significant investment in the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline.

That protest is held weekly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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