Kendrick Eagle, a member of the Sioux Nation at Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, addresses Obama directly in a video from filmmakers Lori Woodley, Doug McLea and Jonathan Klett uploaded to YouTube this week. Eagle, one of the pipeline protestors from more than 200 other Native American tribes, first met the president when he visited the reservation in 2014.
“You gave us hope, a lot of hope,” he said. “It was a great time, and two months after that you flew us out to D.C.” They toured the White House, rode in the motorcade, and went out to pizza and an NBA game with the president and first lady Michelle Obama, Eagle recalled.
The president later mentioned Eagle, who is raising his four younger brothers, in a speech at the 2014 Tribal Nations Conference and lamented that life would present them with fewer opportunities than it would his own daughters.
“It’s like you cared about me and you cared about my story ... it was amazing to hear you say that in front of people, in front of all the tribal leaders in DC,” Eagle said.
“You said, ‘Let’s not make this just a dream,’ and right now it kind of feels like it was a dream, because you said you had our back, and here we are,” Eagle continued. “Help us stop this pipeline.”
Protesters in North Dakota and at solidarity demonstrations around the world want to see construction of the oil pipeline halted and its route altered. They argue it would disturb sacred lands and burial grounds and poses a serious threat to the Missouri River, which provides the tribe’s drinking water.
Watch the entire moving video above.