Marchers in Park City condemn Dakota Access Pipeline
They support the Standing Rock protests, say ‘water over oil’
A crowd of up to 80 people on Main Street marched on Sunday against a controversial proposal to build an oil pipeline in the Midwest, bookending the Sundance Film Festival a little more than a week after another, much larger demonstration that was focused on broader issues.
The demonstrators on Sunday were opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would wind southward from the upper Midwest. The Dakota Access Pipeline has drawn broad opposition from American Indians and environmentalists, and it spurred the widely publicized protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
The demonstrators gathered in the Brew Pub lot on upper Main Street for remarks by the organizers and others and then marched down Main Street. The Sundance crowds had thinned considerably by Sunday, the last day of the festival. There did not appear to be large crowds gathered to watch the march or join the demonstrators by coincidence.
They chanted phrases like “Water is life,” “People over profit” and “Water over oil.” They also said “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil.” Some of the demonstrators put sage in their hair as a protector, and tobacco, sweetgrass and sage were burned as offerings.
A group known as the Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support was involved in the planning of the demonstration. Carl Moore, the chairperson, said in an interview the Sunday gathering was a prayer event. Moore said Park City was selected for the demonstration based on the setting and the crowds in the city for Sundance.
“This is in the mountains, No. 1. This is where we need to be. This is like our temple,” said Moore, an Orem resident whose heritage is Hopi and Chemehuevi.
He noted the proposed pipeline route crosses sacred Lakota tribe land and there are concerns about the impact on drinking water sources. Moore acknowledged it appears the Dakota Access Pipeline will be built.
“I’m not confident. I think the pipeline is going to go through,” Moore said.
In his comments to the crowd, Moore called Standing Rock Indian Reservation the “spiritual capital of the world.” He told the crowd to “remember whose land this is.”
The marchers left the Brew Pub lot headed downhill on Main Street, moved onto the walkway identified by a bronze bear sculpture and then walked uphill on Swede Alley back to the Brew Pub lot. One person carried a sign reading “We stand with Standing Rock” while someone else’s sign read “Protect our Earth.”
Park City Police Department officers were assigned to monitor the demonstration and provide an escort down Main Street. The Police Department estimated the crowd at between 60 and 80 people. There were no problems reported, the police said.
The demonstration on Sunday was held eight days after the unrelated Women’s March on Main. The earlier demonstration involved a variety of causes of the political left, including women’s rights and human rights. The Women’s March on Main drew between 5,000 and 7,000, the Police Department estimated. It was the largest demonstration in Park City’s modern era by a wide margin.
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The Park City Police Department last week received complaints about noise that usually indicate the community was busy. In one of the cases, the Police Department was called to Empire Avenue, where someone reported the music was loud and there were “people yelling like they are having fun.”