WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The protests at the Standing Rock Reservation are now being memorialized in our nation’s capital. An exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian now displays an artifact from the protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which many tribes say would inhibit their access to water.
Hickory Edwards drove the mile-marker more than 1500 miles to Washington.
“We thought that this was a very important fight,” said Hickory Edwards, creator of a mile-marker now on display.
Edwards was one of thousands protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 2016. He created the mile-marker to show folks were coming from all over to protect this land.
“We all thought that it was a valid...valid fight. You know, a place where we could put our lives on the line,” said Edwards.
Edwards is from the Onondaga Nation, just south of Syracuse, New York. He says he felt a need to take part in the protests because water, he says, connects everyone. A prolific canoeist, Edwards thought his services could be useful at Standing Rock. Now his mark on the protests lives on.
“I hope that it’d just show people, you know, we can...alone we can change ourselves. But together we can change the world,” said Edwards.
The mile-marker sits in the “Nation to Nation” exhibit at the museum. Kevin Gover, director of the museum, says the exhibit is meant to highlight treaties between the U.S. and Indian nations.
“This just wasn’t a bunch of rowdies out there protesting with no particular cause that instead they were talking about their treaty,” said Gover.
He wants everyone to see this mile-marker on display to better understand the relationships between the U.S. government and Native Americans.
“It’s not our job to take a position on what the outcome of the dispute should be. It is our job to report that this contest exists,” said Gover.
Gover says the exhibit should be up for another three to four years.