Lakota water and land rights activist Debra White Plume has died. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, White Plume helped lead the fight against fossil fuel extraction and oil and gas pipelines. In 2016, Democracy Now! spoke with her at a protest camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where she joined water defenders fighting the Dakota Access pipeline.
Debra White Plume: “If the pipeline is put in, it’s going to leak or spill or burst or explode, and that oil is going to get into the water. And Dakota Access pipeline says they’re going to bury it 30 feet under, and they’re assuring everybody that it’s going to be safe. But I think Western science doesn’t really know everything it thinks it knows. And we need to make our decisions based on what’s best for Mother Earth and our coming generations. And that includes protecting our water. Water is under threat all over the world. Right now there are people who have no access to clean drinking water.”