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Why Are Facebook Users 'Checking In' at Standing Rock Indian Reservation?

2016-11-1

This is What’s Trending Today…

You might have seen some of your Facebook friends “checking in” recently at Standing Rock Indian Reservation, inside the American state of North Dakota.

They probably did not suddenly decide to travel to the remote place. Instead, they are showing support for people there who are protesting the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is almost finished. It is designed to carry 470,000 barrels of oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois. It would run under the Mississippi River.

The pipeline is very close to land belonging to Native Americans of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Sioux Indians and their supporters have been protesting the pipeline since July. Protesters say the pipeline would harm the tribe’s drinking water supply and damage sacred sites.

In September, the U.S. government halted work on part of the pipeline.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Sioux Nation, leads his people to peacefully pray near a law enforcement barricade just outside a Dakota Access pipeline construction site north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Oct. 29, 2016.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Sioux Nation, leads his people to peacefully pray near a law enforcement barricade just outside a Dakota Access pipeline construction site north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Oct. 29, 2016.

Opponents have continued to urge the government to change the pipeline's path.

Last week, police removed more than 140 protesters near Standing Rock after reports of violence.

And earlier this week, protesters spread a message on Facebook. They said that the local police were using Facebook check-ins at Standing Rock to find and target protesters.

The protesters urged people on Facebook to check in at Standing Rock Indian Reservation to “overwhelm and confuse” police efforts.

Their request spread quickly on social media. More than 1.4 million people have now “checked in” at Standing Rock.

On Monday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department posted on its Facebook page about the issue. They called the claim that police were using Facebook to find protesters “absolutely false.”

Protesters say that the check-ins have brought more attention to the issue. However, the main group supporting the protest is urging people to do more than simply check in.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

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Words in This Story

remote - adj. far away from other people, houses, cities, etc.

sacred - adj. worthy of religious worship : very holy

overwhelm - v. to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with

absolutely - adv. completely or totally