Toko­roa stands with Stand­ing Rock protest

South Waikato News - - Motoring - LUKE KIRKEBY

Bren­dan and Jen­nifer James want the Na­tive Amer­i­can pro­test­ers at Stand­ing Rock in North Dakota to know Toko­roa is with them.

The Toko­roa cou­ple have been protest­ing at Lake Moananui with a large ban­ner to show their sup­port for the Sioux tribe which has been op­pos­ing the Dakota Ac­cess Pipe­line (DAPL) over their an­ces­tral lands since April, vi­o­la­tion of sa­cred sites, and en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion in­clud­ing that of clean water and the im­pact of fos­sil fu­els.

Bren­dan said af­ter hear­ing about what was go­ing on in North Dakota via Face­book he felt he had to do some­thing.

‘‘It started off with my wife Jen­nifer tak­ing an in­ter­est and I started hav­ing a look into it too and felt em­pa­thy with the in­jus­tice,’’ he said.

‘‘They have al­ready taken the in­dige­nous peo­ple’s land over there and they are ar­rest­ing them for tres­pass­ing on that same land. It is mad­ness and it makes no sense.’’

‘‘They are do­ing what we are do­ing, just stand­ing in peace­ful protest and say­ing this is what we stand for. They want clean water and they are los­ing their burial and other sa­cred sites.’’

He said au­thor­i­ties have gone ‘‘over­board’’ in their han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘They are taser­ing them and pep­per spray­ing them in large vol­umes,’’ he said.

‘‘The thing is for me it is not just them ei­ther, it is in Pa­pua New Guinea with the In­done­sians be­ing kicked off their lands for gold min­ing, the Abo­rig­ines are los­ing theirs in Aus­tralia for the same thing, and it is hap­pen­ing all around the world to in­dige­nous peo­ple and it needs to stop.’’

Bren­dan said he and his wife have re­ceived noth­ing but praise for what they are do­ing dur­ing their protest.

‘‘We have had a lot of peo­ple ask­ing what we are do­ing here and some knew about Stand­ing Rock and some had no idea so we were able to fill them in and ex­plain,’’ he said.

‘‘We have had Black Power, Mon­grel Mob, po­lice, and the lo­cal coun­cil and all have shown sup­port which is great.’’

Sim­i­lar protests have been held through­out New Zealand and Bren­dan en­cour­aged those want­ing to show their sup­port to do so through Face­book.

The Face­book group, ti­tled Haka for Stand­ing Rock, was cre­ated by TV per­son­al­ity and for­mer Mana can­di­date Te Ha­mua Nikora, who had com­posed a haka for Maori to per­form in a show of sol­i­dar­ity.

A video of a New Zealand per­form­ing a haka at the site was posted on­line and has since been watched by thou­sands. The Face­book group now has more than 10,000 mem­bers.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Bren­dan and Jen­nifer James with their ban­ner at Lake Moananui in sup­port of the Stand­ing Rock pro­test­ers.

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