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The Water Rights Movement Taking Place in the Midwest, and the Women Standing Up to It

Standing Rock Sioux protestor Jessie Weahkee drove from Albuquerque to North Dakota to protect much more than land from a 1,172-mile-long, $3.78 billion-dollar pipeline.

"It's about our rights as native people to this land. It's about our rights to worship. It's about our rights to be able to call a place home, and it's our rights to water," she said in an NPR interview.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the construction Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) by Energy Transfer Partners because the route crosses sacred sites and burial places, specifically close to Lake Oahu. Since the tribes felt that they were unproperly consulted about the spiritual, historical implications of the construction – Souix protestors, like Weahkee, believe that their cultural identity and resources are being subjugated.

On top of this, the Standing Rock Souix are concerned about possible ruptures in the pipeline, and since it would cross with drinking water, the pollution would be devastating.

A federal judge recently rejected the injunction request posed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Obama administration, however, stepped in and stopped construction on federal land, specifically around Lake Oahu. Energy Transfer Partners are now being asked to halt all construction within 20 miles of the region until it can be determined if they are violating the National Environmental Policy Act.

Along with Weahkee and her fellow protestors, some female activists and celebrities have been rising up to defend the land as well. In August, actress Susan Sarandon spoke during a Standing Rock Sioux tribe rally in Washington D.C in support of their lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers.

Even more recently, Green Party's presidential nominee Jill Stein spray-painted construction equipment at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest, according to ABC News. Via Twitter, Stein shared a quote from Sitting Bull after facing vandalism charges.

Watch MAKER and activist Rebecca Adamson share her own experience standing up for Native Americans in the video above, and read below to learn what other influential women had to say about #NoDAPL:




NEXT: Native American Heroines »

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Indigenous Women Are Combating Climate Change

Photo Credit: Getty Images