THERMAL, Calif. - The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians are helping the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's protest, or as they say, "protect" against the North Dakota pipeline. The protest hits home for local tribe members like Desiree Franco, vice-chairwoman of Torres Martinez.
"We have water issues as well, to where our water here is contaminated. So we know how valuable and precious the water is. That's why we want to stand behind and support," said Franco.
Members of the Torres Martinez tribe will deliver boxes of donated goods to protectors living on the front-line of the protest.
"We're getting coats cause were looking at a lot of the youth that are there, a lot of school supplies: pencils, papers, crayons. We're getting ice chests..." said Franco.
Franco will take the 23-hour trip to North Dakota on Saturday.
"Now we're coming together. Hopefully this is an eye-opener. We're still here, we've been here, we will stand for the fight and we will not back down," said Franco.
Mike Mirelez, cultural coordinator of Torres Martinez, just came back from North Dakota.
"It was amazing to see the people receiving us and how many there were, about 2,000 natives out there," said Mirelez.
Mirelez hopes everyone can remember the unity that has come from the pipeline protest.
"When we win, when we work together as humans, not a race, I hope that we can show that we can get what they say isn't possible to get done, done," said Mirelez.
Donations are being accepted until Friday afternoon, Sept. 9. You can drop off jackets, blankets, canned goods, shoes, pencils, pens, toys, toiletries, and any other necessities to the Torres Martinez administration office at 66725 Martinez Road, Thermal, California 92274.