Dakota Pipeline Protest Fund Tops $1M
But the money is disappearing quickly in Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrations
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2016 7:22 AM CDT
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters sit in a prayer circle as law enforcement officers make their way across the camp to remove the protesters in Morton County, ND, on Thursday.   (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – As the protest in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline escalates, so has the main crowdfunding page linked to it. The AP reports that since April, a GoFundMe account set up to raise money to aid protesters has far surpassed the $5,000 its organizer had originally hoped it would reach: Over the past six months, more than 21,000 people have contributed to boost the fund to over $1 million. "It still feels unreal sometimes because it is such an astronomical figure to me," says Howaste Wikaya, a protester who set up the fundraising page. But Wikaya adds the money is spent practically the moment it's received: A local tribal historian tells the AP that only about $100,000 from the fund remained as of Friday night for the camp, situated near Cannon Ball where the Missouri and Cannonball rivers meet—and North Dakota's unforgiving winter is coming.

Where the money has gone: groceries that run about $2,000 every two days, 20 yurts ($160,000 in total), and bail money (about $7,000 so far) for those arrested for protesting the $3.8 billion pipeline, which protesters say will disturb drinking water and plow through cultural artifacts of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Per InsideSources, however, the protests have benefited from other fundraising as well—one effort has set aside more than $860,000 just for "the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water and human rights"—and some even claim donated supplies have been wasted. But donors continue to send financial support, including one New Hampshire woman from a community that fought its own natural gas pipeline. "This really, really struck a chord with me," she tells the AP. (CNN talks with some Standing Rock Sioux who protest the protest.)
 

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