Rep.-elect Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) delivered winter supplies to Standing Rock demonstrators on Thanksgiving Day, joining thousands of protestors trying to stop the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would close the massive camps that have been home to Native "water protectors" blocking the pipeline's construction under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The corps cited safety concerns as winter approaches, The New York Times reports.
"The water protectors are still fighting the fight," Hernandez tells WW today.
Hernandez, who won election this month to represent Oregon's District 47 in East Portland, was joined by the Rev. Joseph Santos Lyons of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and others to deliver sleeping bags and warm clothes to protestors.
Hernandez, in an interview with WW, described the sophisticated operations for feeding and caring for protestors as the weather dips into frigid temperatures. On Thursday, the camps marked Thanksgiving with a meal provided by actresses Jane Fonda and Shailene Woodley.
Hernandez, who's returning to Portland today, says he has no plans as of yet to use his new role as an Oregon legislator to address the pipeline's construction.
But he says he will follow the requests of indigenous leaders.
"If there is a calling to do so I will," he says. "I think it's wrong our federal tax dollars are paying for the militarization of patrolling these areas."