By Vi Waln
CANNON BALL – The steady stream of celebrity visitors to the Water Protector camps lends high-profile support in the continued fight to protect major water sources from the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).
On November 12, musician Neil Young turned 71 years old and celebrated by paying an unannounced visit to the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Water Protectors were surprised by the artist, who casually walked through camp at sunset. And despite a chilly evening, he stopped at several camps to offer impromptu performances, entertaining camp residents with his guitar and trademark harmonica.
Young has been very outspoken during the past several years against oil pipeline construction. Actress Daryl Hannah accompanied him on the visit to Standing Rock. Both celebrities were highly visible in the recent fight against the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL).
Young and Hannah spoke with a small group of Water Protectors in a private meeting held in a wood stove heated tipi at the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Young told the group that the gathering of so many people from all over the world is an indication of the awakening of people’s minds and spirits to the damage being done to the environment.
Young recently released the video “Indian Givers” to bring awareness of what is happening at Standing Rock. The video included raw footage of direct actions and police response to them.
Also, included in the music video were clips of Dale “Happy” American Horse locked down to a piece of equipment on one of the DAPL construction sites. American Horse, a Sicangu Lakota, was the first Water Protector to chain himself to equipment using a device called a sleeping dragon.
American Horse and his mother, Cheryl Angel, were among those invited to the meeting. Others attending were Lewis Grass Rope, Lone Wolf Yankton, Anne White Hat, Aldo Seoane, Art Tanderup, John Quigley and Vi Waln. They all shared their perspective on the unprecedented gathering to bring awareness to the dangers of oil pipelines being constructed under major water sources.
Young teamed up with Willie Nelson in September 2014 for the Harvest the Hope Concert at the Tanderup Farm, located in the direct path of the KXL pipeline, in rural Neligh, Nebraska. Both singers were adopted as relatives in a pre-concert ceremony by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Cyril Scott and Oglala Lakota Tribal President Bryan Brewer.
Hannah was also highly visible during the fight against the KXL pipeline. She visited the White Plume Ranch in Manderson, SD in 2011 and participated in a ride to bring awareness of the dangers associated with oil pipelines. She was arrested in 2012 when she accompanied a private landowner in Texas and blocked KXL construction equipment. The actress was again arrested in 2013 at a KXL protest in Washington DC.