Charmian Wright clearly isn’t one to sit on the sidelines while others take action.
When Wright, a veterinarian with 30 years of experience, heard reports of horses getting hurt during protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, heading out to help was the obvious choice for her. The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies are fighting the construction of the pipeline, saying that it would intrude on Native American land and that a leak would contaminate local sources of fresh water.
“I am passionate about the issues that are being addressed at Standing Rock,” Wright told The Huffington Post. “But when I saw videos of horses being injured, I knew I had to go there.”
Wright, who runs an equine practice in Park City, Utah, posted on Facebook to find out the needs of protesters — who prefer to be called water protectors — at Standing Rock. Within hours, she got an enthusiastic phone call from a horse caretaker at the Oceti Sakowin Camp. She began prepping for the 900-mile drive to Cannonball, North Dakota, in early November.
“The horses on site are very important for morale and for healing of the humans,” Wright wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for veterinary supplies. Horses are integral to the culture of the Standing Rock Sioux and have been an ongoing presence in the movement against the pipeline.