‘I can’t stand back any more’
When Nick Cowan believes in something, he doesn’t just talk about it, he takes action.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old Londoner, now living in Queenstown, travelled 13,500km to North Dakota to join 10,000 others in subzero temperatures at a protest camp at Standing Rock.
Cowan saw the images, read the stories and decided to join the ‘‘peaceful’’ fight to stop an oil pipeline running through sacred Native American land. He’s funding the eight week trip himself and is all too aware of the dangers.
‘‘I just feel that enough is enough and I can’t stand back any more. I believe in people and I believe that people have the power to change so much.’’
The -30degC temperatures at the camp, reports of police and private security brutality including sending ‘‘attack dogs’’ into the crowd and dousing protesters with water canons, was something Cowan was prepared for.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters at Oceti Sakowin encampment are pushing to reroute the Dakota Access oil pipeline away from Lake Oahe, a tribal water source.
Despite the US Army Corps of Engineers refusing the company permission to extend the pipeline, protesters pledged to remain.
‘‘They [the company] have no plans in stopping,’’ Cowan said. ’’The campers are going nowhere [either].’’
Queenstown man Nick Cowan travelled to North Dakota to join the oil pipeline protest at Standing Rock. Girlfriend Paula Boettrich is proud but worried for his safety.