To stand in solidarity, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student groups will come together to host a rally and march to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The UW Oshkosh Inter-Tribal Student Organization, Student Environmental Action Coalition and the Human Services Leadership Student Organization are sponsoring the rally and march, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.
The rally will begin at the Horizon Amphitheater, which is located outside of Horizon Village on the UW Oshkosh campus; the group will march to the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. Councilman Brandon Yellow Bird-Stevens from the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin will serve as a guest speaker.
“This is not a us versus them event—this is about education, solidarity and protection of natural resources,” said Dennis Zack, American Indian Student Services coordinator and Inter-Tribal Student Organization adviser. “UW Oshkosh students have realized the importance and significance of what is going on at Standing Rock Reservation. Many students have come together in solidarity with each other understanding water is life.”
Currently in North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies are seeking to protect their water and sacred burial sites from the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access pipeline is proposed to transport light, sweet crude oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.
Protests at the pipeline site in North Dakota began in the spring, drawing indigenous people from throughout North America as well as many other supporters, which has created the largest gathering of Native Tribes in a century. The pipeline was set to cross the river a half-mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation border, which has tribal members worried that a pipeline breach could threaten their drinking water supplies.
“The event is a march and rally in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota who are protecting their water and sacred sites against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Amney Harper, associate professor in the UW Oshkosh professional counseling department who is helping students coordinate the event at UW Oshkosh. “This situation has brought about civil rights violations by the police against the water protectors and the media. Tribal sovereignty has not been respected, and police violence has escalated.”
The campus event is open to the broader community—and organizers are hopeful for a large showing.
Additionally, to raise awareness, Che Jim, a Native American activist who has spent time at Standing Rock, will share information about the movement and his experiences from 6 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7. His talk will be held in the Reeve Memorial Union Theatre (Room 307).