No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement is Focus of Visions in Leadership at QVCC

Released March 2, 2017

An emotional issue that has pitted Native Americans and environmental activists against the Federal Government and oil industry is the focus of this year’s Visions In Leadership program sponsored by the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that crosses four states, would connect oil-rich areas of North Dakota to Illinois, where the crude oil could be transported to refineries. Depending on who you ask, the 1,172-mile pipeline could be an economic boon that decreases the U.S. reliance on foreign oil or an environmental disaster that threatens the water supply and destroys sacred North American sites. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been at the forefront of massive and prolonged protests over the pipeline.

On Thursday, March 23, two women who have played instrumental roles in the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement will share their perspectives about what is at stake if the pipeline is constructed.

Waniya Locke is from the Ahtna Dene, Dakota, Lakota and Anishinaabe tribes and currently resides on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She was a Lakota Language Education Action Program (LLEAP) student. This is a college-level intensive Lakota language course for educators of Lakota language. Waniya attended Sitting Bull College and the University of South Dakota.

Jessye Stein is a founding member of People Over Pipelines, an organization started by concerned citizens to support direct action against illegal and immoral pipeline construction across the United States. A graduate of Boston University with a BA in philosophy and political science, she was a founding teacher at the Pine Ridge Girls School and a computer teacher and bus driver at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Tickets to the evening event, which starts at 5:30 p.m., must be purchased in advance and are expected to sell out. The cost is $50 per person and includes dinner, dessert, the presentation, and a silent auction. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Monique Wolanin at 860-932-4174 or

The Foundation recognizes this protest as a highly debated current event. The views expressed by the speakers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the QVCC Foundation.