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Jane Fonda Serves Thanksgiving Meal to Standing Rock Water-Defenders

© Flickr / UN WomenJane Fonda Serves Thanksgiving Meal to Standing Rock Water-Defenders
Jane Fonda Serves Thanksgiving Meal to Standing Rock Water-Defenders - Sputnik International
Thanksgiving, a painful time for many Native Americans, did not halt ongoing protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, and demonstrators were served an “appreciation dinner” by noted Hollywood film actor Jane Fonda.

The actor helped to serve a turkey feast for some 500 of the self-described water defenders. Her gesture was met with skepticism from some.

“What is the narrative there? ‘Oh, we want to help the poor Indians on Thanksgiving of all days?’” Kandi Mosset, 37, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations who has been at Standing Rock since August, asked The Guardian.

“We’re trying to make people understand that we don’t need celebrities to come and feed us and get a photo op and just leave,” she added.

Dozens of protestors demonstrating against the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline wade in cold creek waters confronting local police, as remnants of pepper spray waft over the crowd near Cannon Ball, N.D., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. - Sputnik International
North Dakota Native Protesters Set to Mark Thanksgiving Under Government Siege
Actor Shailene Woodley, who has been a vocal advocate against the pipeline, also helped serve the meals.

Since 1970, the United American Indians of New England has held a “National Day of Mourning” each Thanksgiving, over the genocide of Native American people.

Approximately 300 activists were out protesting on Thursday, near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation in North Dakota, and were met by roughly 50 police officers.

"Given what we are currently fighting against, Thanksgiving is not really a celebration for us," Native American protester Dallas Goldtooth told ABC News.

Many social media users also posted about the significance of Native Americans being subjected to brutality by representatives of the US government during the holiday season. “For Thanksgiving, Obama will pardon a turkey, but won’t step in to protect Native Americans?” one widely-shared image noted.

"What our ancestors went through 200 years ago, in a way we are kind of going through the same struggle. What is happening in North Dakota is just a mere continuation of 500 years of colonization," Goldtooth said.

Activists Call Police Brutality as Dakota Access Pipeline Protester May Lose Arm - Sputnik International
Activists Call Police Brutality as Dakota Access Pipeline Protester May Lose Arm
The approximately 1,200-mile oil pipeline is intended to transport some 450,000 barrels of oil per day across the Missouri River and other sensitive ecological habitats. Opponents point out that a spill will be catastrophic, as the river supplies water to millions of people.

According to Standing Rock leaders, the $3.8-billion pipeline being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners will also ruin sacred sites near the tribe's reservation.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, and many have been injured by flash grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons used in subfreezing weather.

Though the protesters do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they do use the day to celebrate their families and each other.

“We don’t think of it as celebrating Thanksgiving, we think of it as a federal holiday where we get to spend time with family, and family is important to us,” Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribal council told The Guardian.

“Every day is just another day,” Archambault said about the significance of Thanksgiving. “We just have to keep moving forward and fight for our rights.”

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