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Oklahomans stand in solidarity with Standing Rock protestors

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The fight to block construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota came to Oklahoma Tuesday.

About 100 demonstrators organized under the Skydance Bridge in downtown Oklahoma City in response to a nationwide call to action from the Sioux Tribe in North Dakota.

They believe water is life, and they are hopeful protests around the country will slow progress on the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs through the tribe's water supply.

"It's a wonderful feeling to see the community come together for the betterment of the society we all live in," said Chebon Kernell, who is a Native American liaison, with the United Methodist Church. "We all have the same hopes to live a life of wellness and safety."

Mary Francis, who calls herself the 'Angry Granny,' is an environmentalist.

"We've got to stop this. We've got to stop the pipeline. We've got to stop digging up fossil fuels, and burning them, and ruining the atmosphere and bringing about global arming," she said.

"It's atrocious. It's about human rights, civil rights," said OKC Black Lives Matter Executive Director Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson. "Certainly, being people of color, we're accustomed to also dealing with discrimination and racism. This affects everyone in Oklahoma and around the nation."

The group was diverse, including members from Black Lives Matter, The Sierra Club, the United Methodist Church and a number of Native American advocacy groups.

"It's just a nasty business, and Native people are saying leave the oil in the ground. Go to sustainable energy. Most people want that," said Muskogee Tribe member Roberto Mendoza.

Mendoza just returned from Standing Rock, North Dakota where 200 tribes have come together to support the Sioux and indigenous values.

Currently, the company building the pipeline still needs a federal court order to lay pipe under the Missouri River.

The Army Corps of Engineers has asked for more time before making a recommendation.

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