Hector Perez-Pacheco, a member of the organization Harmony Restorers, spoke at Scripps College on Thursday, Sept. 15, about the adverse effects of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction on Native American lands and the groundwater of the Missouri river. The DAPL’s purpose is to transport crude oil to refining plants in Illinois, where they can be turned into more commercially viable fuel.
Also accompanying Perez-Pacheco were Dan Drake and Nicole Collins, two other members of Harmony Restorers, a collective dedicated to stopping the construction of DAPL. Perez-Pacheco and his associates travelled to Southern California from the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota.
During his talk, Perez-Pacheco emphasized the damage that DAPL construction has wreaked on water sources and Native American sacred sites.
Griffin Paisley PZ ‘18 said that he is especially concerned about DAPL due to “the government failing to understand the cultural value placed on native lands.”
Perez-Pacheco told students how company security used both tear gas and dogs on the protesters, as well as various methods to make it difficult for protesters to get their message to the outside. These methods ranged from media blackouts to blocking roads going into the Sacred Stone camp.
Perez-Pacheco focused a portion of his presentation on how students at the Claremont Colleges could help.
“I came to the Claremont Colleges because in the past they have shown great dedication to social justice issues, approaching with compassion, understanding, and eagerness,” Perez-Pacheco said.
A similar viewpoint was echoed by Paisley, who said that “the schools fund students, and students support each other in times of need.”
“The most important thing you can do is spread the word. Coffee shops, friends, family … There are still people even in California that do not know what is going on,” Perez-Pacheco said.
He also encouraged students to write to their representatives or others in positions in power and to consider donating to the Sacred Stone camp.
Perez-Pacheco and the other Harmony Restorers left those in attendance with one final piece of advice: “Everyone needs to educate themselves. Because by doing this, we can educate others.”