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Dakota Access protesters say they’ll take lessons home

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CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Activists who joined the Dakota Access pipeline protest in North Dakota say they’ll take what they learned to their fights back home.

Activists told The Bismarck Tribune ( ) that the experience is giving the environmental movement a new method of fighting and has fomented opposition to other projects.

Washington resident Rob Lewis said he was drawn to the Native Americans’ argument that nature is sacred as its case for preserving the environment. He said environmentalists’ scientific approach has turned off others in the past, and has made people feel detached or objectified.

“It’s always been a scientific kind of approach, and I was drawn to the approach of the Native Americans, which is to treat nature as sacred,” Lewis said during his second visit to the protesters’ camp in southern North Dakota.

North Carolina resident Tara Cook joined a veterans group that came to the main camp last weekend. She’s involved with the Black Lives Matter movement back home. She said her community could learn from the protests, which she thought were peaceful, prayerful and disciplined.

Thousands of Native Americans and other people have camped near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation since August to protest at construction sites in Morton County as a way of stopping the crude oil pipeline. They fear the pipeline could contaminate the water and disturb sacred grounds. The Dallas-based company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, has denied those assertions and insists the pipeline will be safe.

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