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Matriarch in fight against Dakota Access Pipeline has died

April 13, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — LaDonna Allard, a woman considered a matriarch in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline, has died at age 64.

An online obituary says Allard died April 10 in Fort Yates where she lived.

Allard founded the first Dakota Access pipeline protest camp in March 2016. It grew in size over the next few months and inspired others to set up camps where the Cannonball and Missouri rivers meet.

Thousands of people from around the world soon arrived to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the pipeline.

Allard stepped up against the pipeline because one of her sons is buried on a hill near the route of the line, which crosses under the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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In the days since her death, numerous friends and supporters have honored her on social media.

“A true matriarch has passed -- bless you Ladonna Brave Bull Allard,” the Lakota People’s Law Project said on Facebook. “You will be remembered for all you have done to serve humanity: Sacred Stone, your mentoring of the young, your strength and vision. Prayers up...#NoDAPL forever.”

Allard’s Sacred Stone Camp was modeled after a similar camp on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Law enforcement made hundreds of arrests at demonstrations in the camps along the Standing Rock border in 2016 and 2017.