Travelers passing through Grand Central Terminal at the height of the evening rush hour Thursday were met with the sound of beating drums and war whoops from several dozen Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. They had traveled all the way from the Dakotas, they said, to bring their case to the Big Apple.
They were not decrying the government for allowing the pipeline nor the companies that were building it. They were telling people to take their money out of the banks that finance the pipeline. They cited Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC and TD Bank.
"If you put your money in any of those banks, it's being invested in that pipeline," a spokesman for the protesters explained in a brief interview. "When you're not using it, the bank is using it, and they're using it to do evil things, like finance the pipeline, fund fossil fuel companies, to fund power plants, and frack gas. … If your money is in those banks, it's going to create violence against the indigenous people in North Dakota."
He said the protesters had done a "bunch of actions" outside banks and wound up near Grand Central, so they decided to demonstrate there, too.
Completion of the 1,200-mile, crude-oil pipeline across four states has been a subject of fights in Washington and protests in North Dakota as the national interest in energy independence has clashed head on with environmental concerns such as the safety of drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.