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Native Americans Use Columbus Day To Protest Dakota Access Pipeline

Esther Honig
/
WOSU
Protesters gather at the bronze Christopher Columbus statue outside City Hall

Members of the Native American community used Columbus Day to protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that sparked massive protests earlier this year.

Outside City Hall, Native Americans from Central Ohio and allied groups held a demonstration against the pipeline, which would run near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation.

Keneth Bagola, a member of the Lakota tribe, says the pipeline threatens land sacred to Native Americans.

"It's a desecration. There are burial sites that are sacred that are being destroyed," said Bagola.

Jen Miller with the Sierra Club says members from the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio invited the environmentalist group to help plan the demonstration. Millers says national attention garnered by protests in North Dakota has raised awareness around the need for renewable energy in the U.S.

"Part of the message here today is that we don't want that built but that we also want to change our market here in Ohio," said Miller.

The protests follow a federal appeals court decision on Sunday that permits construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue.