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Watch the Indigenous Water Ceremony That Opened the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.

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As President Trump marked his 100th day in office on Saturday, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington to take part in the People’s Climate March. Sister marches were also held across the country. The protesters decried President Trump’s steps to roll back environmental regulations, appoint climate change deniers as the heads of government agencies, and defund and erase climate change programs and research, including the administration’s move Friday to scrub climate science pages from the EPA’s website. The People’s Climate March began at dawn on Saturday with a water ceremony led by indigenous peoples at the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Trump marked his 100th day in office Saturday, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to take part in the People’s Climate March. Sister marches were also held across the country. The Washington march took place in sweltering heat, as temperatures rose into the 90s. The protesters decried President Trump’s steps to roll back environmental regulations, appoint climate change deniers as the heads of government agencies, and defund and erase climate change programs and research, including the EPA’s move Friday to scrub its climate science pages from the EPA’s website.

The People’s Climate March began at dawn on Saturday with a water ceremony led by indigenous peoples at the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

GABRIELLE TAYAC: My name is Gabrielle Tayac. I’m with the Piscataway Indian Nation. We’re the indigenous peoples of this area, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Here in this location, we’re actually right in the—right in front of the U.S. Capitol. And the U.S. Capitol of Washington, D.C., sits on very ancient ancestral land, as well, that belonged to the Nacotchtank people, who are part of the Piscataway chiefdom. So it’s a reminder that all the things that you see here are actually part of thousands of years of continuous history and presence.

PAM TAU LEE: My name is Pam Tau Lee. I’m from San Francisco, and I’m with the Grassroots Global Justice. And our organization is the Chinese Progressive Association. Yes, we’re gathered here this morning for a water ceremony to bring together everybody’s brought water from their local area. And each of the water has memory from the local area. And we’re bringing that together. We’re going to have this ceremony. And my water, I have brought from Hetch Hetchy in San Francisco. That’s our water that we drink. And it is mixed with water from Standing Rock. The indigenous women are going to take that water to join with the local water here.

UNIDENTIFIED: If you have water that you brought from your community, she’s going to give instructions in a few minutes about how she wants you to bring it up. OK?

MICHELLE REED: My name is Michelle Reed, and I’m from Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, Reservation, but I actually brought water from upper Michigan, where I live. And I’m going to put it in with the rest of the water that’s blessed for the march today. And there’s a lot going on there with sulfide mining in upper Michigan. It’s an honor to be here and to be able to do this and bring this all the way from Michigan.

AKEESHEA DANIELS: My name is Akeeshea Daniels, and I’m here from East Chicago, Indiana. And it was significant for me to attend, because I brought water from Indiana, from East Chicago, and I thought that it would be a good ceremony to try and see if we can just combine our waters with the waters from all over the world to purify or pray for purity of the water in East Chicago, as well as all over the United States. We recently just found out in August; the mayor gave us a letter saying that we needed to relocate or find somewhere to move due to the high levels of lead. Inside of my own home was 32,000 with lead and 800 with arsenic, where I’ve been there for 13 years with me and three children. So we have so much going on that people don’t even know about. This has been going on for over 40 years. So, yes, I think we have a climate issue in East Chicago, Indiana.

MARK BOHNHORST: My name is Mark Bohnhorst. I’m with First Universalist Church and with Interfaith Power & Light and other organizations. Well, I’m going to put a little bit of it in there, and then I’m going to put the rest in the Reflecting Pool. Hopefully, it will reflect on our lawmakers. Maybe the spirit of the water will help reach their souls, reach their minds, and we’ll start, you know, doing what’s right by our planet.

CHERRI FOYTLIN: My name is Cherri Foytlin. I live in Rayne, Louisiana. Well, right now we’re in an epic struggle to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is the tail end of the Dakota Access pipeline, brought to us by Energy Transfer Partners, which is a horrible, horrible company. So this part would go from Nederland, Texas, to St. James, Louisiana, through 700 bodies of water, and it would destroy 600 acres of our precious wetlands that protect us from storms, protect us from flooding. Like last August, my house was flooded, partially due to climate change, partially due to the oil industry cutting canals. We lived through the BP oil disaster, and we know what that oil is going to do to our shores. You know, we have oil spills out there every single day, pretty much. And so, we have to live in fear of that. We have dolphins that are dying at increased rates, turtles that are dying in increased rates. And then a lot of our people are still sick from the BP oil spill and the chemicals that they sprayed out there.

My message is to President Trump, yeah. And I just want to say that you need—come down and sit with our families, who are suffering, from our refinery communities, our environmental justice communities and the people who are dealing still with the BP oil spill. And if you can look in their eyes and see the pain that they’re still dealing with and still continue this road where you put money and the profit of these corporations over our people, then we’ll really know what kind of man you are. And until then, we’re going to continue to fight, and we’re going to continue to resist you, because you’re on a destructive path that puts my house and my family directly in line of destruction. And I just can’t—I can’t allow it.

AMY GOODMAN: The water ceremony on Saturday, led by indigenous peoples at the Capitol Reflecting Pool, that began the epic People’s Climate March. Special thanks to Democracy Now!'s Andre Lewis and Renée Feltz. When we come back, we'll air highlights from our 5-hour special broadcast, which we did live throughout the march, which you can see in its entirety at democracynow.org. Stay with us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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