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Neil Young celebrates birthday with pipeline protesters in N.D.

CANNON BALL, N.D. - A couple from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation took their daughters out of school for a few hours Tuesday afternoon so the young girls could see the son of a Democratic icon, the latest in a growing list of known names to stand...

CANNON BALL, N.D. – A couple from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation took their daughters out of school for a few hours Tuesday afternoon so the young girls could see the son of a Democratic icon, the latest in a growing list of known names to stand with Standing Rock in its battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

During Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s stop at the main protest camp, where, surrounded by media and camp supporters, he characterized the company’s fast-moving construction tactic as bank robbers emptying the till and police not willing to stop a crime in progress.

Kennedy, whose father was assassinated during a 1968 presidential primary election campaign stop, has devoted his career to environmental law and currently heads a national and international Water Alliance.

Kennedy’s visit followed a surprise weekend appearance by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young. After recording a song in support of Dakota Access Pipeline opponents, Young did them one better Saturday, Nov. 12, by celebrating his 71st birthday with a serenade of the protest camp.

Young posted a Facebook video showing him strumming his guitar and playing the harmonica as he meandered through the camp where thousands of “water protectors” are staying just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

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“Got my birthday wish today, my girl took me to #StandWithStandingRock #WaterIsLife,” Young wrote on Facebook, referring to his girlfriend and fellow activist, actress Daryl Hannah, who also visited the camp and posted about it on social media. “Those who damage Mother Earth, damage us all, forgive them, they don’t yet see.”

As Kennedy, in jeans and button-down corduroy shirt, toured the camp Tuesday, Cangleska Luta Winn, of McLaughlin, S.D., trailed along with her daughters, watching and listening as the tall, silver-haired visitor stopped to talk with camp builders.

“I found out about this last night and came over for this. The kids didn’t know who he is, but I’ll explain,” she said. “They’ll always remember this.”

Kennedy said the strategy of Energy Transfer Partners is to get pipe in the ground so investors have an interest in keeping the oil flowing for another 30 years.

“The end of their industry is in sight and their strategy is to maintain the market. It’s easy to build pipeline, but not transmission lines because transmission lines support wind and solar energy. They cannot beat us in the market, but they’ll saddle our children ... and anchor us in this dirty, addictive toxic fuel,” Kennedy said.

He called the camp the front line in the battle for clean energy.

“If people care about the future of humanity, they need to come here and stand with Standing Rock,” he said.

Michael Bruin, executive director of the Sierra Club, appeared with Kennedy and said the group’s 2 million members are inspired by Standing Rock.

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Since Young released the song “Indian Givers” in September, it’s been viewed more than 1.4 million times on Facebook and more than 238,000 times on YouTube.

The protest camp has attracted a number of other big names in recent weeks, including actor Mark Ruffalo, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and musician Dave Matthews, who will headline a “Stand with Standing Rock” concert Nov. 27 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

All net proceeds from the concert will benefit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the 1,172-mile, $3.8 billion oil pipeline, which runs from North Dakota to Illinois and is hung up on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers easement to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe less than a mile north of the reservation.

Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt, will perform a benefit concert Nov. 27 at Prairie Knights Casino near the protest site.

Related Topics: DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
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