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San Diego Native Tribes Rally Against North Dakota Oil Pipeline

Native Americans held a protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota last week.
James MacPherson AP
Native Americans held a protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota last week.
San Diego Native Tribes Rally Against North Dakota Oil Pipeline
GUEST: Robert Wallace, member, Barona Band of Mission Indians

Our top story on midday edition Native American tribes in San Diego are joining what's become a nationwide effort to stop the extension of an oil pipeline. The standing rock -- The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is staging a protest against the pipeline. Supporters say they are thousands of Native American activists and environmentalists engaged in the protest at the The Standing Rock Sioux tribe reservation. I spoke with Barona Band of Mission Indians a member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. Welcome to the program. Thank you. You have been out to the camp what was that like? Last month a bunch of us went from here on the western side of the United States. There was like nine different bands of us and we went out there took supplies, foods, and other basic necessities that people need. We got out there and delivered our stuff and did some shopping out there and later that night when we had a chance to relax we walked up to the river and looked across and it is right on the Missouri river. It was heartfelt for me because I know water is life and people have to live off of that. There is people downstream that make a living off of fishing and farming. I think it is a disruption to the whole system on the river. So the tribe is specifically concerned about a possible leak and the destruction of their drinking water, is our right? Correct. There is a possibility that things happen, leaks with the amount of pressure and if something was to break on that, it could be devastating to everybody up and down the Missouri river. The company that wants to build this pipeline they say their fears about contamination of the local water supply are unfounded. I wonder how be -- The Standing Rock Sioux tribe will negotiate with the company . From what I understand, there had been negotiations, I am no legal expert. So far this protests have gotten support from about 280 tribes. Why you think so many have rallied? I think because they see what is going on out there and if they can do that next to their drinking water, what makes it any different from anyone of us Americans. They can put it anywhere. Water is crucial to our survival. People need to watch out for it. Right here where having a drought in Southern California and the water is very precious to us. Some of us do not have grass or trees anymore and we are trying to conserve water. If you think about it, exactly what I saw looking across with their going to putback, it is devastating. It doesn't make any sense. To see this as part of a bigger tribal movement around environmental and social issues? I know you say this is an issue that everybody can be concerned about. QC Native Americans, in particular, getting more concerned about these issues? Sure. I do. If you look at what is going on with sacred site issues. You had people wanting to do things -- that is our family graveyards for upwards of 7000 years. All Native Americans have their graveyards and burial sites and for somebody to go dig those up and do what they want to on those sites it is just not cool in terms that people don't understand it. I know part of the rallies that are going on here some local issues are being discussed and are coming up. Ones are those issues that affect Native Americans here in San Diego? We had a rally down there in Coronado where the Navy had -- like in the 40s and so they were going to do would again. They could've moved it over one hundred yards but they decided to just go ahead and start picking up again. What happens to those bones quit --? What happens to those people that were there before? That is part of history and your family that is being dug up. The Obama administration has to give the okay for this pipeline to proceed. Where does the administration stand on this question? Like I said, I am no legal expert. I hope that the people here are on our side. There are many tribes that are protesting against this. There was a proximately 1500 people when I went out there with a group of individuals to take stuff. There is upwards of 5 to 7000 people out there. We are having bands and tribes and ordinary folks go out there to support this. Hopefully it grabs the president attention to say maybe they have something here. Maybe we need to put attention to what is going on with our people and a little bit less of making money. Were is the rally coming up? It is going to be across from the Belmont parked in Mission Beach. It will be in the grassy area. We will have Doug Apple Gate there. He is running for Congress and he is going to be one of our guest speakers. There will be tribal leaders. I would assume from all bands coming to support this. We will talk about different topics including the ones at Silver Strand and there are all sorts of other issues that are in need of countries but also in everybody's country . This is all of us. I have been speaking with Barona Band of Mission Indians a member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Native American tribes in San Diego are joining what's become a nationwide effort to halt the construction of a 1,200-mile oil pipeline project.

Over the last couple of weeks, local native tribes have held rallies in downtown San Diego. Another one is planned for Saturday in Mission Beach.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is against the pipeline because members say it could threaten their source of drinking water.

The company behind the project says it has put the necessary safeguards in place, but that has not stopped thousands of Native American activists and environmentalists from joining the protest by camping outside the reservation.

Robert Wallace, member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, discusses Friday on Midday Edition how local tribes are coming together to support the Standing Rock Sioux.

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