First Nations show support for Māori cause

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The family of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, one of the key spiritual leaders of the Standing Rock cause, are in Hawke's Bay supporting the cause of the crew of the double hulled waka Te Matau a Māui and their stance to protect the waters against The Amazon Warrior.

"We're water protectors. Many of us were at Standing Rock and my people the Mohawk people, we also have been defending our lands and our waters against pollution, so we really wanted to bring our flag to support the work you're doing here, we're really inspired," says Dr Dawn Martin-Hill, Chair of McMaster University Hamilton Ontario.

They are against the worlds largest seismic blasting ship, the Amazon Warrior, exploring New Zealand waters, but say it's not just the blasting that needs to go.

"They need to also remove that name because I work with the Amazon people and I work with the Amazon conservation team and just the name of that is very offensive to the indigenous people of the Amazon so - remove the name," she says.

The fight strikes a chord with them after being involved in the Standing Rock occupation against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline that would be used to transfer oil, but would compromise their sacred sites and water quality.

"I was at Standing Rock for two months," explains Cody Looking Horse, son of Chief Arvol Looking Horse. "It's really nice to see cultures embrace each other once again, just like how Standing Rock did and it's very beautiful." 

The visit is about learning, understanding and supporting one another as indigenous peoples.