"We’re never going to back down," said Bobbi Jean Three Legs of the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, when Democracy Now! spoke to her Monday and asked what her message was for Trump.
Above, watch our report from Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival, where water protectors, joined by actor and activist Shailene Woodley, walked down Main Street and linked arms to block the entrance to a Chase Sapphire lounge, in order to protest the connection of one of the festival’s leading sponsors to investment in the Dakota Access pipeline.
WATER PROTECTORS: We stand!
WATER PROTECTOR: For water!
WATER PROTECTORS: For water!
WATER PROTECTOR: For life!
WATER PROTECTORS: For life!
BOBBI JEAN THREE LEGS: My name is Bobbi Jean Three Legs. I’m Wakpala, South Dakota, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
RENÉE FELTZ: And can you describe the action that’s happening today?
BOBBI JEAN THREE LEGS: Right now we’re on a lockdown in front of Chase Bank, because we want people across America to divest their money from these banks. The big banks—Chase, Wells Fargo—all the big banks, these are paying for the pipelines around the country. We want you to know what your money is being paid for and what it’s being used for. And pretty much our lives are at risk right now—everybody. There’s already people’s waters ruined around the country. And we’re just trying to protect that. We want to know that seven generations ahead, that our children are going to be OK, that they’ll be able to have drinking water, that they will be able to live long lives.
RENÉE FELTZ: What are you calling on people to do who, for example, bank with Chase?
BOBBI JEAN THREE LEGS: I’m asking you to divest in your money and put your money in a credit union, somewhere where that’s going to help the people, where it’s going to benefit it, not where it’s going to benefit pipelines and ruin people’s lives.
RENÉE FELTZ: President Donald Trump has promised to take action on the Dakota Access pipeline. He has Rick Perry, who was formerly on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, as his Department of Energy secretary. What message do you have for our new president?
BOBBI JEAN THREE LEGS: That we’re never going to back down. We’re never going to stop standing up for what’s right. And this isn’t just a Native American issue. This is a human race issue. This is about Mother Earth, everything. Everything survives from water.
WATER PROTECTOR: Chase Bank funds Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners, which is heavily invested in Dakota Access and many other pipeline projects.
MALIA HULLEMAN: Yeah. Aloha. O Malia ko’u inoa, Hawaii mai au. My name is Malia. I’m from Hawaii. So, I’ve been at Standing Rock—or was—since August 11th. I was arrested, amongst the first who were arrested, and have stayed since December 30th.
RENÉE FELTZ: What charges were you facing?
MALIA HULLEMAN: Disorderly conduct. We—we’re facing misdemeanors, and we’re facing a six-person jury trial for that. And I’m grouped with an 11—with 11 people, so they’re trying 11 people at the same time, which is really interesting, and not all of us have misdemeanors. So, I understand that they have around, I believe, 560-plus cases to go through. And that’s a lot, and that’s probably why they’re grouping. But it’s also not letting us have a fair trial and have the amount of time that we need to plea our innocence, because we are innocent.
RENÉE FELTZ: And you have to come all the way from Hawaii to face your charges?
MALIA HULLEMAN: I do. It’s definitely a costly trial. But we do what we have to do, and money is not—is not going to be the deciding factor in it.
SHAILENE WOODLEY: Hi. My name is Shailene Woodley. I am an actor and also just a human being who cares deeply about not only this generation but all generations to come. We’re not standing out here to call out Sundance in a negative way or to say that this is wrong or you’re a hypocrite. We’re here to invite Sundance, to invite its sponsors and to invite every single person who not only attends this film festival, but who also puts together this film festival, to recognize that it’s one thing to say something, and it’s another thing to participate in actual democracy, it’s one thing to participate in actual change. And by having a supporter, by having a sponsor like Chase Bank, you’re completely contradicting all of the vocal support that you do have with indigenous communities, because Chase Bank is one of the largest sponsors of the Dakota Access pipeline and profits off of the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as Wells Fargo and Bank of America and all of these other larger banks. So we’re here to bring attention to and make people aware of the bigger picture.