Malia Obama / REUTERS

Malia Obama Attends Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

Malia Obama made a decision to exercise her right to protest, which continues her family’s legacy of activism.

During the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last week Obama, the eldest daughter of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, attended an event in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

President Donald Trump signed orders on January 24 clearing the path for the controversial pipeline in a move to expand energy infrastructure and roll back the former administration’s key environmental actions. Trump also revived the Keystone XL project, which was rejected in 2015 by then-President Obama.

In an interview with Democracy Now actress and activist Shailene Woodley talked about Obama attending the January 23 event:

“It was amazing to see Malia,” Woodley said. “To witness a human being and a woman coming into her own outside of her family and outside of the attachments that this country has on her, but someone who’s willing to participate in democracy because she chooses to, because she recognizes, regardless of her last name, that if she doesn’t participate in democracy, there will be no world for her future children.”

Obama reportedly left her family vacation in the Caribbean early in order to attend Sundance.In February she will begin an internship with the Weinstein Company and will start classes atHarvard Universityin the fall. In June Obama graduated from Sidwell Friends School, a private school in Washington, D.C.

“They’re ready to get out, just out from their parents’ house,” former President Obama said of his daughters, Malia and Sasha, in a December interview. “The fact that their parents’ house is the White House may add to it. But Malia’s going off to college. She’s a grown woman.”

As she listened to her father’s final presidential speech to the country last month, the 18-year-old was visibly moved, wiping away tears with a tissue.

“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion,” former President Obama said. “You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been contesting the construction of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline, which activists say would pollute water and desecrate sacred land.In December, after months of protests, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected an application to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River.

In response, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners said they did not intend to reroute the line, calling the Obama administration’s decision a “political action.”

Last year Kelcy Warren, chairman and chief executive officer of Energy Transfer Partners, donated more than $100,000 to Trump‘s presidential campaign.

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