Indigenous resistance grows as Standing Rock solidarity actions continue

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: Sophia Reuss

Yesterday afternoon nearly 100 demonstrators marched through downtown Toronto to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline marking Toronto's third solidarity demonstration with Standing Rock.

The $3.8 billion pipeline would extend from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to carry around 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day through South Dakota, Iowa, and into Illinois.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other Indigenous communities across North America have since joined the resistance.  

"We don't believe in borders as First Nations people, we believe that this is all Turtle Island and that women are water carriers. That's why we came out today, because we want to protect the water," Sigrid Kneve, a Mohawk organizer of the Toronto event, told rabble in an interview. 

 Sophia Reuss

Just one day after last week's action outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto, federal Judge James Boasberg denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request for an injunction against the U.S. government over the pipeline. 

Shortly afterwards, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers intervened and issued a joint statement that temporarily halted all construction on the pipeline until another Environmental Assessment is completed. 

While many celebrated the White House's decision to step in, others saw it as a call to action. "Some of us see this as a stalling tactic to appease the Land Defenders [and] Water Protectors at Standing Rock, thinking this will cause a [dispersal] of peoples at the encampment," organizers explained on the Toronto Day of Action Facebook page. 

 Sophia Reuss

Peaceful actions swept across the United States yesterday -- including one in Washington, D.C. where almost 3,000 people demonstrated -- for what was called the National Day of Action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

Toronto organizers and demonstrators in solidarity with the actions gathered outside the Toronto Stock Exchange building at the intersection of York and King streets in the late afternoon. 

Organizers Carrie Lester, Sigrid Kneve, Claire Bramham, and Sue-Lynn Manone explained that having the action outside the Toronto Stock Exchange had great significance. 

"Enbridge has shareholders and Toronto Dominion bank, Scotiabank, and Royal Bank of Canada are all involved with extraction, and so that's why we were down in that core today, in the business district core. And we're not going to stop," Kneve told rabble.

The group blocked traffic at the York and King intersection by holding hands in a circle, drumming, and chanting "water is life," "we stand with Standing Rock," "no more pipelines," and "you can't drink oil, keep it in the soil." 

The demonstrators marched down King Street towards the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) festival grounds, where police and TIFF security guards blocked demonstrators from continuing at the King and Duncan intersections. 

Demonstrators gathered outside the blockade, sang songs, announced that a van would be leaving Toronto for North Dakota to deliver supplies and materials, and sat down chanting for nearly 20 minutes before walking up Duncan towards Queen, where traffic came to a standstill again. 

From there, the group marched down Queen, stopping at the Queen and University intersection and the Old Courthouse -- where mounted police joined the police escorting the rally -- before marching up Yonge Street to end the rally at Yonge and Dundas Square.

 Sophia Reuss

Throughout the rally, organizers asked participants to turn their signs outwards, facing pedestrians and cars. "We are doing this for their benefit," Carrie Lester, an organizer, told the rally. 

"Every person realizes, whether they're First Nations or not, that we all need water. And the world that we've created is not working," Kneve explained after the demonstration.

Kneve told rabble that the Toronto-based actions are growing in numbers and support, "It's grown each time. All people are starting to realize that water is life, and our lives are more important than driving our cars," Kneve said. 

"It's going to take all of us to stop our dependency on oil," she said. 


Sophia Reuss is a Toronto-based writer, editor, and is a recent graduate of McGill University. She's interested in how online media and journalism facilitate public accessibility and conversation. Sophia also writes and edits for the Alternatives International Journal. She was rabble's 2016 summer intern.

Photos: Sophia Reuss

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.