Vic Mensa recently joined protesters, known as water protectors, in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where thousands have gathered to block the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is being constructed near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe contends that the pipeline will disturb its sacred sites, infringes on past treaty agreements and endangers their primary water supply, the Missouri River, as the pipeline passes under it.
On Sunday, the rapper filmed a Facebook Live video to explain why he joined the protest. "This is by treaty, by law, this is land that belongs to the Standing Rock Sioux," Mensa said, adding, "An oil company wants to build the Dakota Access Pipeline and put it through their water source to potentially or most likely contaminate water that services millions of people."
Later he discussed the racist implications in the decision-making of where the pipeline is being routed. "The pipeline was supposed to be over by Bismark, in a different area that's not Indian country and it's a white area. So what they did was they said, 'That's too risky for their water source so, we're gonna switch into Indian country,'" Mensa said. "And, we're not having that. We can't have that and that's why I want to put this message out."
In addition to his Facebook video where he likened Standing Rock's potential water contamination to the catastrophe in Flint, Michigan and showed an overview of the large camp area, the Chicago MC took to Instagram to call for more people to join the protest. "If you believe in the inalienable rights of people; the right to clean drinking water, the right to food and shelter and the right to freedom, then you have to support Standing Rock," he posted on Instagram along with a photo of a #NoDAPL sign on Monday. "Get on a plane, drive, take a bus, whatever you have to do."
Earlier this week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set a December 5th deadline for protesters to decamp, as ABC News reports. While the agency said "it has no plans for forcible removable," those remaining could receive trespassing charges and be prosecuted. Over the last several weeks, protesters have been subjected to water cannons, rubber bullets and concussion grenades.
Mensa said he would return on December 4th to stand with protestors against the deadline. Several artists have rallied to support the protest efforts at Standing Rock. Dave Matthews, Graham Nash, Neko Case and Ledisi held a benefit concert in Washington, D.C. last Sunday. That same day, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Jason Mraz also staged a Stand in Solidarity With Standing Rock show in Fort Yates, North Dakota, near the pipeline protests. Neil Young penned a message of solidarity addressing President Obama regarding the Standing Rock protest and also performed for Standing Rock protesters earlier this month.