Cindy Young of Alexandria, Allison Wade of Bristol and Jessica Pratt join in a protest against TD Bank in Bristol Wednesday afternoon. They support the protests in North Dakota against the oil pipeline going through Native American land. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)
Dakota pipeline protesters demonstrate at TD Bank
By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BRISTOL — About eight people demonstrated in front of the TD Bank in downtown Bristol Wednesday, saying they were there to show support for the demonstrations against the Dakota Pipeline.
Alexandria resident Cindy Young said she and her supporters are standing up to all of the financial institutions that are financially backing the pipeline the builders want to run through the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
"Lots of people in this area don't understand," said Young who temporarily put down her drum to speak. "A lot of this desecration of sacred burial sites isn't common knowledge."
In recent days, the protests against the pipeline going through Sioux Reservation lands have grown violent. According to nation news media outlets, police turned fire hoses against the protestors in freezing North Dakota winter weather near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, over the past two nights.
Police have also allegedly used rubber bullets and tear gas in other efforts to disperse the growing crowds. Protesters in North Dakota are led by David Archambeault II, the chairman of the tribe.
"It's like a perpetrator committing a crime against innocent people," Archambault told ABC news reporters about the Dakota pipeline plans.
In Bristol, things were calm. Occasionally a T-shirt-wearing young person would lean out of a car window and flip his middle finger at them, but just as often people would drive by a toot their horns in solidarity.
Young said they have a permit for their protest and the Bristol Police have largely ignored them.
"They smile, maybe half-heartedly, when they go by," she said.
The Dakota lands west of the Missouri River are protected as part of the greater Sioux Nation by the 1851 Treaty of Laramie, which was amended in 1868 after gold was discovered in the South Dakota Black Hills in 1861.
The protesters say the pipeline will run through waters of the Cannon Ball River which is part of the Great Sioux Nation.
Young said she and some of her fellow Grafton County supporters will be heading to Cannon Ball in January to continue the protests.
TD Bank media spokesperson Alison Ford said, "We respect the rights of those who wish to voice their opinions in peaceful protest. TD supports responsible energy development, employing due diligence in our lending and investing activities related to resource development. To enhance our understanding of key issues and promote informed dialogue, we work closely with our clients, local communities, aboriginal governments and environmental groups.
TD continues to engage in discussions with key stakeholders and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. And we support efforts to ensure environmental sustainability and the safety of the site. We will continue to encourage ETP to engage in constructive dialogue and work towards a resolution with stakeholders and community members, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe."
Maya Hardcastle, left, and Elsa McConologue stand in front of the TD Bank in Bristol Wednesday, making their feelings known about the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed in North Dakota. The bank is one of the businesses financing the project. (Courtesy photo)