Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at the Capitol to stand in solidarity with American Indian tribes protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, four separate groups marched from four different locations across Denver and converged on the Capitol.
There were several speakers at the peaceful protest that included singing, dancing and tribal members wearing ceremonial clothing.
Yolanda Williams brought her grandchildren to the event.
“I wanted my grandchildren to be here to understand the importance of this, not just for natives but for everybody,” Williams said.
Since April, tribal members of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and others have protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. A company called Energy Transfer is building the $3.7 billion, 1,170-mile long pipeline that will stretch from North Dakota across four states to refineries in Illinois.
Protestors want to protect the Missouri River from the pipeline that will travel beneath it, and they’re concerned construction will destroy sacred burial grounds. Earlier this week, protestors clashed with private security near a construction site as bulldozers passed over what protestors said was sacred ground.
“Sacred is sacred,” Williams said. “I don’t care what they say. Those are our ancestors they just dug up. That was very brutal for us to ingest.”
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered a temporary stop to construction along a section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The judge is expected to rule on an injunction Friday that would halt construction.
Some in the crowd gathered in Denver Thursday night said they planned to join the protest in North Dakota. Williams said she’d be making the trip sometime next week.
“This is a history-making event,” Williams explained. “It’s my last chance to do something for my people, for my children, for my grandchildren, for other people’s grandchildren.”