Winnipeg church hosts event of solidarity with Dakota Access protests

December 6, 2016 | Web First
Beth Downey Sawatzky | Manitoba Correspondent

Hundreds of concerned American citizens gathered peacefully to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and pray on Nov 26, 2016. At the same time, dozens more gathered at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg to add their voices.

The pipeline raises major concerns for environmentalists and human rights activists. If completed, it will run through four states, the Missouri River, and sacred traditional lands belonging to North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including ancient burial and prayer sites. Protests and legal battles have hampered the pipeline since its beginnings; nevertheless, it is nearly complete.

Kelsey Wiebe, a local university student, was one of nearly 50 who gathered at Home Street to listen to a live audio feed of the American protest, and joined in with their half-hour of silent prayer.

When the time came for silence, Wiebe said it felt powerful to be at one with so many others. “I came away feeling hopeful, just to recognize that there has been so much support for [Standing Rock] coming from here and all over North America as well.” After prayer, organizers took up a collection that yielded more than $700 that will go to the Oceti Sakowin water protection camp at Standing Rock.

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