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Grand Rapids in Solidarity with Standing Rock: Stop Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline Action

December 29, 2016

About 50 people gathered today at the Calder Plaza to participate in an action in solidarity with the resistance by First Nations people at Standing Rock.screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-1-57-11-pm

The Stop Funding DAPL event was organized to confront the financial institutions that are currently funding the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, which includes 17 different banks. The action today was directed at JPMorgan Chase bank, which has a branch at 200 Ottawa NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

The action began with drumming and a song that was led by members of the Anishinaabe community. Jonathan Rinehart then spoke about the significance of December 29, which is the anniversary of the US Calvary massacre of unarmed members of the Lakota nation at Wounded Knee in 1890. Reinhart then made the connection to contemporary genocidal policies against First Nations people, like what is happening at Standing Rock.

Nancy Gallardo, who has been at Standing Rock for several months and just returned this morning also spoke about what was happening there and the importance of these kinds of actions that demonstrate solidarity with the struggle in North Dakota.

Another Anishinaabe woman who has also been to Standing Rock spoke and talked about the importance of water in our lives and why it is vital to fight against oil extraction no matter where it takes place.

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The flyer pictured above was shared during the action, encouraging people to contact the CEO of JPMorgan Chase Bank.

The intent was to go into the JPMorgan Chase bank on Ottawa, but when we began the action there were already cops there and a private security guard from the bank standing outside the doors. People walked over the the bank anyway but were denied entrance based on what the cop told us was that the bank is “private property.”

By this time there were 8 GRPD cars on the scene and one bicycle cop to protect the bank.

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Denied entrance to the bank, people rallied in front of the the bank handing out flyers, chanting and listening to additional comments from the Anishinaabe community.

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We founded out the the bank closed to make sure that those who were “protesting” couldn’t get inside, so people stayed for almost another hour to continue to shut the bank down and not allow them to be in the business of funding the pipeline, which is funding death.

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