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Students, community members gather to knit goods for Standing Rock protesters



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Students, Bloomington residents and Native American activists hold up signs by Sample Gates on Sept. 11 protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. In another community effort, a knit-in took place Sunday afternoon to build community and discuss the pipeline.  Rebecca Mehling Buy Photos

While protests continue at Standing Rock Indian Reservation against the North Dakota Pipeline, IU students decided to bring the conflict close to home Sunday afternoon with a knit-in to make winter goods and collect donations for protesters.

At the event’s peak, 35 people crowded IU alumna Kate Samson’s home. The event took place for five hours Sunday afternoon and offered attendees tea, snacks, knitting and a chance to discuss Standing Rock and other important issues in the community. IU senior Bradi Heaberlin and a few other students will take the materials created or donated with them when they travel to Standing Rock during Thanksgiving break.

“Bradi and I got together and kept asking ourselves, ‘What do we do?’” Samson said. “We reached this conclusion that inaction is the wrong answer, and there are so many right answers.”

[Concert supports Standing Rock protestors | IDS]

Samson and Heaberlin decided using crafts to bring people together to help would be the best way to talk about what’s happening. The main goal was to bridge student activism and community building, 
Heaberlin said.

“To tie those two communities together and to make the connection very salient was the goal of the event,” Heaberlin said.

People of all ages and all walks of life showed up at the event, Samson said. She said surprisingly many people who came didn’t know to knit at first, but those who did taught them while engaging in meaningful discussion. The most important part of the event for Samson was planting the seed that staying active in the community or state or country and staying aware of what’s happening in the world is important.

Looking forward, Heaberlin said she plans to work with other organizations on campus who are mobilizing for this cause. Students Against State Violence organized a demonstration at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Sample Gates to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock.

Samson said other ways to get involved in Standing Rock and other important issues in the community is to think about how to use everyday activities, such as knitting, to engage in the community.

“Day-to-day actions do matter,” Samson said. “What you engage in does matter. Taking time to engage is 
important.”

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