Water protectors battling the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline have been stunned by incredible support for their fight, as allies near and far have flooded the protest camp's fundraiser with over $3 million.
"I know the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is not alone; we have overwhelming support."
—Dave Archambault II,
Standing Rock Sioux TribeOne crowdsourcing campaign had an initial goal of raising only $5,000, the Associated Press reported Sunday, but topped $1 million. Other fundraising streams have increased the total raised to over $3 million, and the money is going toward legal costs, food, shelter, and other necessities for the camp of hundreds of water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
"One online legal defense fund has raised more than $655,000 for 'the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water, and human rights,'" AP notes.
The pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners is valued at $3.8 billion.
AP spoke to protectors who described the expenses associated with feeding and sheltering over 600 people:
"It still feels unreal sometimes because it is such an astronomical figure to me," said Ho Waste Wakiya Wicasa, the protester who set up the GoFundMe account that has raised more than $1 million mostly for operating expenses at the camp, which took root in April.
[R]unning a camp—and readying it for North Dakota's brutal winter—isn't cheap. The account Wicasa set up has only about $100,000 left as of Friday night, according to LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a tribal historian and preservation employee. She provided family land for use in the original camp, Sacred Stone, in April and still houses demonstrators.
The money has been used for grocery store trips every two days that cost about $2,000 each, 20 yurts purchased for $160,000, and around $7,000 for bail money. It has also paid for a storage area, composting toilets, tiny houses, tepees, a medical area, and generators powered by solar panels and wind.
A bookkeeper and an accountant now keep track of the crowd-sourced money.
"I got people to take care of," Brave Bull Allard told the wire service. "I got to provide homes for people and blankets, thermal wear, socks, hats and gloves, and food. Right now, we are feeding 670 people."
The successful fundraising efforts point to the extent to which the Standing Rock Sioux's battle against Dakota Access has resonated around the world.
"I know the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is not alone; we have overwhelming support," Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II told AP, "adding that his tribe would in return help other tribes 'in their fight against corporations.'"