Ever since he was in his early 20s, Byron Clemens has had a passion for activism on behalf of Native Americans and issues important to them.
Friday, instead of shopping, he and his son are driving to North Dakota to bring protestors medical supplies ahead of a reported push of support set for late next week.
The protestors are demonstrating against the completion of an oil pipeline that would run under the Missouri River upstream of Lake Oahe, the drinking water source for a local American Indian reservation.
The company set to install the pipeline had previously received clearance and all approvals to move forward with the project, and claims it is being held up by political forces.
Earlier this week, protestors clashed with law enforcement, and cars were set on fire. Law enforcement pushed back by putting out the fires and then using the water cannon on protestors despite sub-freezing temperatures; they also used tear gas, beanbag rounds and rubber bullets when they say some protesters got aggressive.
An explosion that injured one protestor is under investigation. The cause of the explosion is being blamed on the other side by protestors and law enforcement alike.
Here in St. Louis, supporters of the protesting Native Americans recently held a demonstration. They gathered medical supplies and food and sent the first shipment with Clemens.
Another shipment of supplies is scheduled to head north on December 1.
It has been reported that a few days later hundreds of military veterans will “deploy” to the protest site to stand with the protestors.