Hundreds of people, many of Native American heritage, gathered at Berkley Riverfront Park on Sunday to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
They joined protesters across the country standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota. The tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violating the National Historic Preservation Act, after the agency issued final permits for a massive crude oil pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois.
A protest in North Dakota on Sunday morning turned violent, but the one in Kansas City was peaceful.
People sang, chanted, played drums and burned sage. For many who assembled on the banks of the Missouri River, it was personal.
The pipeline has been approved to pass underneath the Missouri River in central South Dakota. Lakota leader Moses Brings Plenty says it's not a matter of if the pipeline breaks, but when. He says the effects will be felt in Kansas City as well.
"Not only will the people, the folks in South Dakota and North Dakota be affected, but we too will be affected," Brings Plenty said.
He says the Missouri River has always been important to him.
"As a child, my grandmother used to take me to this river and I used to be able to swim in this river and I used to go fishing in this river," he said.
Melissa Garrett, who has Quapaw and Seneca Cayuga roots, says she can't bear the thought of the pipeline crossing hundreds of rivers and streams. The name Quapaw, she says, means "downstream people."
"We’re talking about the future of the life of the Missouri River. (The pipeline will) disturb thousands of natural resources and also ancient ancestral burial grounds," Garret says.
She says everyone along the Missouri River should be concerned about the purity of the water.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter at KCUR. Connect with her on twitter @larodrig.