When a child in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest camp asked recently if Santa would be delivering presents to the children at the camp this Christmas, a Standing Rock Sioux tribal member was able to say yes, thanks to the generosity of others.
Members of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference raised nearly $5,000 to purchase socks, gloves, toys and cold-weather items and deliver 700 Christmas stockings to water protectors still camped at the camp, according to Native News Online.
The volunteers braved North Dakota’s bitterly cold winter weather to deliver the Christmas stockings on December 15 to water protectors who are still camped near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
United Methodists Bring Christmas to Standing Rock https://t.co/aIFCo5bpSw
— Lakota Country Times (@Lakota_Timez) December 22, 2016
Rev. David Wilson, superintendent of the Oklahoma Missionary Conference, said that the group put out a call for help and raised the money to purchase the items. Churches contributed the stockings and additional donations, he said.
The reverend said that it was something that people were happy to do in order to help the water protectors at the DAPL protest camps.
“People want to do what they can to be a part of this great effort, whether it be contributing money, praying, assembling the stockings, and more. It has been very affirming and heartwarming.”
Reverend Wilson and four church members drove 14 hours to bring the stockings and supplies to the reservation in a U-Haul truck. The supplies were given out right away, while the stockings were designated to be given to babies, children, youth, adults and elders for Christmas.
Jen Mattel, a Standing Rock Sioux tribal member, said that a child had asked her earlier if there would be Christmas for the folks at Standing Rock.
“A child from a family staying at the camp asked if Santa would be there this year,” Mattel said. “I was happy to tell him yes.”
Others are also holding fundraisers, concerts and events around the country to support the water protectors at Standing Rock over the Christmas season.
— Ruth Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) December 24, 2016
As the Inquisitr previously reported, nearly 1,000 DAPL protesters are still at the camp despite winter storms and sub-zero temperatures, and they have pledged to stay in order to make sure the pipeline construction does not resume.
“I’ve seen some of my friends leave but I will be here until the end and will stand up to Trump if he decides to approve the permit,” said Victor Herrald of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, who has been at the camp since August.
Some of the water protectors who are still at the camp are members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and travel to the camp during the day from their homes on the nearby reservation. The majority of the protesters still remain at the camp full time, though.
Needed donations continue to come in for the water protectors at Standing Rock, along with the support and public attention that are just as needed.
— Cathleen Falsani (@godgrrl) December 8, 2016
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is working with the tribe to make sure water protectors are safe during the winter weather. Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, also said they are working to take care of those who are still at the camp over the winter.
“We will continue to provide infrastructure support to those who stay here,” he said. “We’ll make sure they’re safe and warm.”
Thanks to the deliveries of gifts, supplies and stockings, they should also have a Merry Christmas.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]