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Jesse Jackson visited the protest camp near Cannonball, North Dakota, on Wednesday.

Jesse Jackson visited the protest camp near Cannonball, North Dakota, on Wednesday. (Photo: James MacPherson/AP)

'Water is Life': Al Gore, Jesse Jackson Support Dakota Access Protesters

'This is an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from the traditional values being expressed by the Standing Rock Sioux to protect life on Earth'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Former vice president Al Gore and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are the latest prominent voices to join the fight against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jackson arrived at the protest camp near Cannonball, North Dakota, on Wednesday. The civil rights activist told the Associated Press that he joined the water protectors in order "to pray together, protest together, and if necessary go to jail together." 

Watch Jackson rally water protectors in North Dakota here:

Earlier, Jackson told AP that "Native Americans who oppose the pipeline have a 'moral claim to be heard' and that their burial grounds 'must be honored.'"

The Standing Rock Sioux, who fear that the proposed pipeline will contaminate their water supply where it crosses the Missouri River, raised the alarm last month when pipeline construction disturbed sacred sites near the tribe's reservation in North Dakota.

In a statement released Tuesday, Gore also lent his full support for the water protectors' pipeline battle.

"I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline," Gore began, and continued:

The non-violent resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline is [...] one of the frontline struggles that collectively mark a turning point in the decision by humanity to turn away from the destructive path we have been following and aim instead toward a clean energy future for all. 

The courage and eloquence of the Standing Rock Sioux in calling all of us to recognize that in their words, “Water is Life,” should be applauded, not silenced by those who are driven by their business model to continue spewing harmful global warming pollution into our Earth’s atmosphere. 

This is also an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from the traditional values being expressed by the Standing Rock Sioux to protect life on Earth. 

"The effort to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are respected are not only issues of civil rights and religious freedom," Gore concluded, "but reflect the choice we must make to ensure a sustainable, just, fair and healthy future for all generations to come."

Supporters observed that Jackson and Gore are both campaign surrogates for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has still not weighed in on the Dakota Access Pipeline, and wondered if her surrogates' actions mean that Clinton may also make a statement on the issue:

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