Rocker Dave Matthews is spearheading a benefit concert Nov. 27 in Washington, D.C., in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The latter would cut across tribal lands in North and South Dakota and travel under the Missouri River, potentially threatening the tribe’s water supply.
An announcement issued Monday said other artists still to be identified will join Matthews at the performance at DAR Constitution Hall in the nation’s capital.
“How can we continue to allow oil money to dictate our environmental and social policies?” Matthews said in the statement.
“The people of Standing Rock, and those who are supporting them, are standing up for their children and all of our children. We are letting the Dakota pipeline silence their voices. Not only are they desecrating sacred lands, but they also threaten to poison the Missouri River.”
A federal judge on Sept. 9 denied tribes’ requests that the pipeline be temporarily halted where it would cross public lands. Proponents say the four-state project will create jobs in the region and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
Protesters have been confronted by National Guard troops and law enforcement agents from a variety of jurisdictions, as well as police dogs, tear gas and long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — sonic weapons that can injure, incapacitate or kill those they are used against.
Those protesting the pipeline have been dubbed “water protectors” and proceeds from the concert will go toward supporting them with supplies, legal assistance and other materials and services.
A broad coalition of tribes has gathered to protest the project, in what the BBC recently called “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Neil Young, who is not scheduled to be part of Matthews’ event, also has been observing the Standing Rock protest closely. He referenced the movement at his recent performances at Desert Trip in Indio with tipis and references to the phrase “water is life” being used by tribe members attempting to halt the pipeline’s construction.
“History is being made right now,” Young, 70, told The Times last week. “The protesters are prepared to give up their lives, and unfortunately I think what it’s going to take for more people to pay attention is that somebody’s going to get killed.”
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