City College joins pipeline protest

By Cassie Ordonio

City College supporters echoed their opposition to a controversial $3.7 billion oil pipeline project that threatens indigenous homelands through the Dakotas, Illinois and Iowa.

Since mid-2015, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been leading the effort to stop the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline Project. Hundreds of indigenous tribes are currently fighting on the front lines of the bulldozers.

“This affects everyone no matter what your culture, what your race,” City College student Cante Tenza Win Goodface said. “Water is for everyone.”

Native American activist William Underbaggage holds his daughter, Chante Tinza Winyan, 16 months old, in the Financial District on Sept/ 8. 2016 in protest against the Dakota Acces Pipeline project. Underbaggage is fighting for clean water for his daughter and for more generations to come. (Photo by Cassie Ordonio/The Guardsman)
Native American activist William Underbaggage holds his daughter, Chante Tinza Winyan, 16 months old, in the Financial District on Sept. 8, 2016 in protest against the Dakota Acces Pipeline project. Underbaggage is fighting for clean water for his daughter and for more generations to come. (Photo by Cassie Ordonio/The Guardsman)

Despite the Obama administration putting a temporary halt to the project, 40 southeastern Iowans were arrested on Sept. 18 for trespassing on the site.

“It’s one of the most disturbing things they’ve ever done,” said Joey, a Native American activist from the Ohlone tribe.

On Sept. 30, a raffle was held in the Mission District. The interdisciplinary studies department donated $159 for the GoFundMe page toward the protesters in North Dakota and over $3,000 was raised.

The following day, the Pacific Islands studies program hosted their 8th Annual Talanoa Series. The program showed support by posting a Facebook photo with a sign that read “CCSF Oceania Stands with Standing Rock.”

On Sept. 8, demonstrators blocked the intersection of Kearny and Post Street in protest. More than a hundred people marched through the Financial District.

This was one of the first efforts San Francisco has made to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in solidarity.

San Francisco police officers blocked the front entrance of Citibank for investing approximately $2.5 billion into the project. Meanwhile, seven demonstrators linked arms with a pipeline-shaped cardboard at the intersection.

“The goal was to move the San Francisco Financial District, and send a message to these banks that we don’t want them funding the pipeline project,” community organizer Scott Parkin said.

The solidarity streak broke as tempers flared; the chants shifted from “Can’t drink oil, keep it in the ground” to “SFPD – who do you work for?”

Supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe march down Kearny Street, in the Financial District Downtown San Francisco chanting “Water is sacred, you cant drink oil” on Sept. 7, 2016. Photo by Gabriela Reni/ The Guardsman. San Francisco, California. September 7, 2016. (Gabriela Reni/Gabriela Reni / The Guardsman)
Supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe march down Kearny Street, in the Financial District Downtown San Francisco chanting “Water is sacred, you can’t drink oil” on Sept. 8, 2016. (Photo by Gabriela Reni/The Guardsman)

Native American demonstrator Jacqueline Lomeli and City College student Cante Tenza Win Goodface intervened. They stressed a peaceful march without violence to the seven demonstrators.

The march ended in a prayer and a reminder of the families who are at the site of the project, preparing for winter.

“We are not going to have anything left for the children if we continue on this path,” Lakota elder William Underbaggage said as he held his daughter. “I want her to have clean, sacred water to drink 50 years from now, and not have her buy it from Nestle.”