NORMAN, Okla. – A group of OU students are joining the nationwide protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
'Water is life' is a slogan you’ll see on posters at recent protests all over the country, including in Oklahoma.
"For me, the struggle is really personal, because that is my people's land, and that is my people's land that this pipeline is going to be going through,” said Ashley McCray.
The nearly 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline would stretch from North Dakota to Illinois, carrying light sweet crude oil, partially through Native American land.
"This is a really big deal nationwide, and this will end up affecting most of the United States if the pipeline projects are complete,” said Sydne Gray.
Last week, several government agencies asked crews to voluntarily pause work on an area where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said there are sacred artifacts.
Those opposed to the pipeline are also concerned it would contaminate water supplies.
"Water is life, and everybody needs water to drink. It's not just indigenous people that need water. It's also white people, you know, everybody needs water,” McCray said.
As OU students come together to stand in solidarity, they’re also trying to raise awareness about a local issue.
“We're actually also an organization here fighting a local pipeline called the All-American Plains Pipeline. We call our organization the No Plains Pipeline,” McCray said.
They’ve been working for months to try and stop that pipeline from being built.
They said it will impact 11 tribal nations in Oklahoma.
That’s something they said connects them to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
"We need to fight this issue at its root instead of fighting the symptoms. And, that's here in Oklahoma, because Oklahoma is the pipeline capital of the world,” McCray said.