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Articles by Indigenous Affairs Fellow Mark Armao

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The Mountain Valley Pipeline under construction in Virginia.

When Crystal Cavalier-Keck heard in 2018 that an energy developer was planning to build a natural-gas pipeline near her hometown of Mebane, North Carolina, she was immediately concerned. Cavalier-Keck, who is a member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, knew about the violence against Indigenous women that often takes place when so-called “man camps” are assembled in areas where pipeline projects cut through Native communities.

“I immediately thought about the man camps it would bring, and I was thinking we need to alert the people,” said Cavalier-Keck, who at the time was serving on the leadership council of the state-recognized tribe.

She began researching the project, which is known as the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Extension. The planned line, she found, would carry natural gas roughly 75 miles from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to a delivery point in Alamance County, North Carolina, ending roughly five miles from her home.

Crystal-Cavalier Keck, who is a member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, attends a protest in Washington DC. Photo by Nedahness Rose Greene

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