Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan at the Standing 
Rock Native American Reservation in the Dakotas 
last week. PHOTO/Kaplan’s office.

Last September, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan proposed a resolution to formally oppose the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at the far-flung Standing Rock Native American Reservation.

The Oakland City Council approved the resolution just as the protests began growing along with increased media attention.

The gesture from Kaplan’s perspective was not hollow. That’s because she spent the Thanksgiving holiday at Standing Rock.

Prior to Kaplan’s arrival authorities had fired rubber bullets and opened water cannons on protesters amid freezing temperatures.

“It’s very cold here,” Kaplan wrote on Facebook a day before Thanksgiving. “But hearts are warm.” On Saturday, Kaplan noted on social media an increased police presence near the sprawling encampment, along with a photo of law enforcement personnel overlooking a ridge.

Tribal leaders in the area and activists say the pipeline violates their land rights and threatens the water supply.

In a statement issued through her office last Friday, Kaplan said, “We must defend the water, land and the people. I am proud to be part of a city that stands up for justice. Together, we have moral obligation to say no to poisoning our water, no to the violence against those being harmed here in North Dakota, and to honor our First Nation’s peoples and respect treaty rights.”