LOOK: Native protesters march Speer to the Capitol

Standing Rock protests have taken root in Denver now that the camps in North Dakota have been cleared.

A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Right around rush hour yesterday a couple hundred protesters blocked traffic on Speer Boulevard as they walked from Sunken Gardens Park to the Capitol. Representing multiple indigenous tribes and allies, marchers shouted for the protection of all water and “Mother Earth.”

While this can be seen in context to the Dakota Access Pipeline fight in North Dakota, shouts from the crowd eluded to a more general opposition to “colonial” capitalism and fossil fuel use at large.

Ralliers raise fists in the air. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Ralliers raise fists in the air. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Before the march began, Robert Cross (his “white name”) perhaps summed up the crowd’s sentiment regarding these issues. Thinking of his future grandchildren, he said, “Are we gonna sit on the couch and watch tv and let all this stuff happen to us? Or are gonna know that we did our best for them?”

Gabriel Lopez carries a "black snake" puppet. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Gabriel Lopez carries a “black snake” puppet. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

After a ceremony in Sunken Gardens Park, the crowd, assisted by Denver Police, processed down Speer to the Capitol, where speakers addressed the crowd.

In general it seemed this action was an extension of protests that began in camps in Standing Rock. After the tribe asked people to leave and law enforcement cleared out the rest of the camp people went home, in some cases, to Denver.

Natalie Mozur-Renn holds a fist out of her car window as protesters march by. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Natalie Mozur-Renn holds a fist out of her car window as protesters march by. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Benji Buffalo said he had recently returned from five months at camp. Thinking back to that time, he sighed, “You want to know what real PTSD is?”

Rush hour traffic on Speer was completely blocked as the marchers passed by. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Rush hour traffic on Speer was completely blocked as the marchers passed by. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

But for many indigenous activists here, the recent events in North Dakota are just a recent cause of trauma in a legacy spanning European settlers’ entire time in this continent.

Protesters shout, "Water is Life." A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Protesters shout, “Water is Life,” as they cross over Cherry Creek. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“We’re living in a system that doesn’t recognize my people as human beings,” said Lakota activist Sun Rose Iron Shell. She told the crowd  that the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, her home, is still referred to as a “prisoner of war camp.”

But Iron Shell and many other activists here see their time of struggle coming to end.

Joi Lynch stands in sunlight as Robert Cross speaks to the crowd. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Joi Lynch stands in sunlight as Robert Cross speaks to the crowd. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“An apocalypse is coming,” she said. “My family has been here since before this capitol was built, and it will be here long after this capitol crumbles.”

Rocky Rodriguez speaks to the crowd from the Captiol steps. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Rocky Rodriguez speaks to the crowd from the Captiol steps. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Rocky Rodriguez speaks to the crowd from the Captiol steps. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Rocky Rodriguez speaks to the crowd from the Captiol steps. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Robert Cross leads the march out of Sunken Gardens Park. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Robert Cross leads the march out of Sunken Gardens Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Drummers march and sing. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Drummers march and sing. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Gabriel Lopez, dressed in full regalia, leans against his mom. A rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, March 10, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) march; protest; rally; sunken gardens; capitol; indigenous; native american; nodapl; dakota access pipeline; standing rock; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Gabriel Lopez, dressed in full regalia, leans against his mom. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kevin Beaty

Author: Kevin Beaty

Kevin Beaty is a media producer with experience in a variety of settings spanning Hollywood film sets to international backpack journalism expeditions. He is on a never-ending quest to meld artful imagery, functional design and intimate storytelling. His biggest struggle in any given moment is whether to shoot stills or video. Find him on Twitter and Instagram at @kevinjbeaty.