From the Ozarks to North Dakota: standing with Standing Rock

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. One motto for the cause: "Standing with Standing Rock."

While many people in the Ozarks enjoy Thanksgiving Day at home, others traveled to North Dakota to take part in a growing protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a protest that started with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The protest has been going on for seven months at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where those part of the Sioux Nation are trying to stop the oil pipeline from running through their land, specifically under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir.

Late last week, a group of 12 people from the Ozarks traveled to North Dakota. KSPR caught up with them on Thanksgiving Day at the Ocheti Sakowin Camp with 2,000 people from around the world.

"It's not a protest it's a protection," said Mindy Spitz.

Spitz lives in Springfield, and took the 15-hour drive to North Dakota in a caravan with others from Southwest Missouri.

"In support of the water protectors here. We feel very strongly about the environment and what the native people are doing to stand up for our environment," Spitz said.

Last Sunday, some demonstrators were met with water cannons, as police worked to crackdown on the protesters.

It's unclear what sparked that use of force.

"We had one of our members hit by three of the bean bag pellets," Spitz explained.

Spitz said that people there remained non-violent, despite the use of force to disperse the demonstrators.

"The people here are peaceful and prayerful. It is an absolutely non-violent gathering regardless of what you might here in the news media. As soon as you come you have training and non-violent reactions so they don't want anyone causing problems. We are here to protect the water," Spitz said.

Demonstrations against the Dakota pipeline have been happening around the country, including Springfield at Park Central Square.

"It takes a lot of people putting out positive thoughts. And that's what we would ask the people in the Ozarks, and Missouri, and the whole country to send your prayers and your highest thoughts for a peaceful resolution, that this can be stopped," Spitz said. To love the water, to support the environment to care for our earth. We only have one. And they're trying to protect the Missouri River. The Missouri flows into the Mississippi, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. So whenever that water here is tainted it affects people across the whole country and that can affect people in the whole world. Just one pipeline."

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violating sacred ground that was granted to them under the federal Treaty of Fort Laramie signed in 1851.

Ten days ago, the Corps said they will take a second look at the proposal for the pipeline.

Tribal leaders called upon President Obama to help stop this pipeline from going through the reservation. He said the government would wait and see what the Corps can come up with in the next few weeks.