Las Vegas Paiute member describes violent clash at Standing Rock pipeline protest

Local artist and activist Fawn Douglas has returned home after protesting at the Standing Rock Reservation. 11/23/16 (Nathan O'Neal | KSNV)

A months-long standoff in North Dakota escalated this week as hundreds of protesters clashed with police over a $3.7 billion pipeline. One member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe who joined the protest efforts is sharing her story from North Dakota.

News 3 spoke to local artist and activist Fawn Douglas less than 24 hours after she returned home from the Standing Rock Reservation to protest. It’s a protest that has played out throughout most of the year in an effort to halt the construction of a pipeline that would cut through four states and cross the Missouri River.

“What they’re doing is trying stand up for clean water rights to protect the earth because this is all about protecting Mother Earth,” said Douglas.

Douglas arrived in Standing Rock on the most violent day to date. On Sunday night, hundreds of protesters clashed with police in freezing temperatures.

“They kept saying how cold it was and they were shooting them with water cannons,” said Douglas, adding that tear gas and bean bags were also fired into the crowds.

Injuries ranged from hypothermia to one protester at risk of losing an arm.

Local county officials have spent upwards of $8 million to police to protest so far.

“We can use whatever force necessary to maintain peace,” said one officer.

With pipeline construction halted for now, protesters hope for a lifeline from the outgoing president.

The Las Vegas Paiute community is keeping a close eye on pipeline protests in North Dakota with the local activists standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

As for Douglas, she said it’s vital for her native brothers and sisters to keep watch over the land.

“Even though I could be upset about it and hold back tears ... there's still a lot of that positivity, there's still people that care. There's still love,” said Douglas.

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