Giving Back

Montclair Native Takes Trip to Standing Rock to Bring Supplies, Electricity

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FORT YATES, ND -Alan Smith wanted to do something to help and didn't waste any time connecting with friends to take a trip to Standing Rock.

Smith, of Montclair, who is also a musician and lead singer of the band The Porchistas, said that he had raised nearly $5,000 and gathered supplies to take with them on his trek to the campsite. Accompanying him was a friend, Matt Brown of the Homeless Apians, who owns a solar panel company. Brown, who Smith says was the lead on this trip, designed a solar generator large enough for the campers to be able to charge phones, plug in electronics, since there was no electricity. 

Smith said, "On December 2 Matt Brown of Homeless Apians and I are driving to the Standing Rock Indigenous Reservation to deliver a solar generator and other much needed supplies to the tribe and protestors resisting further construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline."

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They set for Standing Rock on Friday, made a stop in Chicago on Saturday, and arrived on Sunday. Sunday was when the government announced that they would not grant the permit to put the pipeline through the reservation. 

According to a release issued a release on Sunday from Swinomish Indian Community Chairman and National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby, the two congratulated the United States Army Corps of Engineers on its decision to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline an easement it needs to proceed on its current route. The Army Corps also required a full environmental impact statement and consideration of alternative routing.

“The Army Corps has made the decision that the Standing Rock Sioux community and all of Indian Country has called for,” said Cladoosby. “This decision will ensure that impacts on drinking water from a pipeline that we know will fail at some point and on tribal treaty rights will be adequately considered. We thank the Obama Administration for once again demonstrating its commitment to respect for tribal sovereignty and a true government to government relationship.”

“My hands go up to all the water protectors who have stood up to protect tribal treaty rights and to protect Mother Earth. Thank you for Standing For Standing Rock.”

However, according to Smith and Brown who are at the site now, the campers are not leaving. Brown said, protesters believe that not having a permit has never stopped developers in the past, therefore, they're planning on staying put. Smith and Brown also stated via a Facebook Live update, that the solar generator is being used to cook food for the masses.

Smith wrote, "...I'm happy to report that they have delivered the supplies and have given the solar-powered charging station to an elder at the Oceti Sakowin camp named Grandmother Patricia; it will be used at one of the three kitchens."

He concluded, "The protestors are not moving for a very simple reason, not having a permit has not stopped the pipeline before."

Smith told TAPinto Montclair that he and Brown plan to stay for nearly a week before returning home.

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