As protests continue near the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, a small group in Springfield is sharing in the opposition.
About 20 people gathering outside of the US Bank branch on East Kearney Street Saturday, one of many financial entities described as a potential lender to companies working on the pipeline.
Organizer Vicke Kepling said they wanted to inform customers they can get involved by investing their money elsewhere or asking the bank to “please take money out of these fossil fuel projects.”
Kepling added that the demonstration is about promoting clean water for this generation and generations to come.
“A lot of people don’t’ realize the Dakota Access Pipeline is that not only will it cross under the Missouri River, the pipeline will also run under the Mississippi River which is right above Missouri. These pipelines are not safe.” Kepling said. “It’s not a matter of if it will break; it’s a matter of when it will break.”
The final piece of the 1,700-mile pipeline is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On Jan. 24, President Trump signed a memorandum encouraging the Corps to expedite the review and approval process.
Anita Lumley, a Native American from the Tonkawa tribe, was among the protesters at Saturday’s demonstration in Springfield.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a reservation; it’s desolate,” Lumley told KSMU. “Contaminated water is the least they need.”
Lumley said they have lost many parts of their culture; her tribe language no longer exists because her father and his grandparents were not allowed to speak it.
“For somebody like me, it’s very important to stand up for Native Americans’ rights,” Lumley said.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, about a dozen local citizens joined protestors in North Dakota and have been active about the matter ever since. There, protestors have been camping near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the pipeline's proposed crossing under the Missouri River.
The group protested in front of Wells Fargo last week at the corner of South Lone Pine and Battlefield.
Kepling added, “We are also out here to show people that they have power.”