They are not protestors. In fact, they make sure you understand that they do not like to be referred to as “protestors”. They see themselves as “protectors.” Protectors of the human right to clean water because: “Water is Life.”
Spearheaded by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, more than 125 Native American tribes and various supporters have gathered in a camp of peace and prayer commonly referred to alternatively as The Camp of the Sacred Stone, or the Oceti Sakowin Camp, to prevent the further construction of the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL), the destruction of their sacred burial grounds and sites, and to protect their river and underground water from inevitable seepage that will occur once the “Black Snake” is allowed to continue its destructive way across the Land.
DAPL will transport millions of gallons of crude oil across 50 counties and 4 States (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois) in 1171 miles of pipe at a cost of $3.8 Billion. The Pipeline crossing the Missouri and Cannonball River cuts through land that is sacred to the Sioux of the Standing Rock Reservation. Once they put out a call for help, tribes from all over the United States responded, sometimes putting aside long standing rivalries, and came to show their support in a historic gathering. There has not been such a gathering of Tribes in close to 100 years.
Aside from the threat to Sacred Land, the pipeline also threatens the environment. When (and not if - if history of pipelines is of any lesson) the pipeline breaks or leaks, the drinking water from the Missouri River would be immediately contaminated.
As of this writing, the Army Corps of Engineers has denied the easement necessary for DAPL to dig and cross under the Missouri river. A victory the Native Tribes take with a grain of salt. With Donald Trump winning the Presidential Elections, the chance of having an ally in the White House is zero. If Mr. Trump's statements are any indication and the Protectors are now prepared for a long and hard battles to come. This is not over. This stand off is one of the most important stories of the past several decades as it touches many sensitive subjects: the oil industry, the environment, climate change, Native American life and sovereignty, and federal laws and treaties.
September 8, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Red Bear from Santa Rosa, CA came to support the NoDAPL movement along with his cousins. His tattoo of Indian Power took more than two days to finish.
September 8, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: A supporter of the NoDAPL movement in the Sacred Stone Camp.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Jason George, from the Coalville Indian Reservation in Washington State, has been in the camp for a few days but he says he will "stay until this is over."
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Aubrey Hart aka Hope, a new camp member, burns sage during the Thanksgiving day. Burning sage is for the cleansing of the body and the place surrounding it.
November 25, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: A camp member takes a break and smokes a hand rolled cigarette after breakfast in the community Mess Hall.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: William G. aka Coda flies his drones over the camp and over the law enforcement to survey the going ons in and around the camp. The Law Enforcement in particular does not like to see his drones over their area.
Hunwtokono from San Diego, CA, is at the Camp to make sure the pipeline gets moved away from the river.. He sleeps in his small car even with the snow and the cold North Dakota temperatures.
Dazey Stephens, from Topeka, KS, does not believe that the Dakota Access Pipe Line will stop work even with the Army Core of Engineers denying the permit necessery to drill under the Missouri River.
September 9, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: John Swiftbird from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and his daughter stand in front of their tippie-he will remain at the Sacred Stone Camp until the work on the pipeline is stopped forever.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Adoneus Bishop of Elgon Washington, has been in the Camp for 10 weeks and is member of the Oceti Sakowin Group. He says: "I am not going anywhere." The Common Man's Society of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, ND, is a group of men and women who Serve, Protect, And Tend to the well being of camp.
September 9, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: An 86 year old elder from the Sioux Tribe came to the gathering on her wheelchair after the Court's ruling denying the requested TRO.
September 8, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Catcher Cuts the Rope, from Hays, Montana, wore his war bonnet given to him after he returned from Iraq War where he was wounded in the Battle of Fallujah.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Chanse Adams Zavalla, of California, arrived four months ago and is prepared to stay until the end.
September 8, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Chief Arvol Looking Horse responds to the request to come ashore by newcomers on their canoe and welcomes them to the Camp.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Christina Oliver-Schuckenbrock, of greater Seattle area, is a descendant of Emmett Oliver who in 1989 started the Canoe Journey Paddle to Quinault tradition. Canoe Journey is an event that takes place every year, where different native American coastal tribes travel by canoe from their reservations to the host reservation where they celebrate for one week sharing songs, stories, food, and gifts.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Angry Bird from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation has been at the Camp "since it started" and it will remain "until it ends."
Taliesian from Vermont is here to lend a hand and support the Camp. He did not want his face to show because he did not want to be a mascot or a representative of the Camp and its members. He has been an activist all his life.
Heather Feather from Wisconsin burns sage and offers its cleansing capabilities to anyone who asks to be cleansed by its smoke.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: David Cook is a supporter of the Sacred Stone Camp.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Kasey Thomson, of Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota, rides Beauty during the Thanksgiving face-off with the law enforcement.
September 6, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Howard Eagle Show from South Dakota builds a fire before dusk in from of his tent at the Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota.
Julianna "Jewels" Sequoyah, an Eastern Cherokee from Carolina, has been at the Camp "since the buffalo." She volunteers at the Oceti Sakowin Camp providing security at the entrance of the Camp.
Iscah Carey from New Mexico has come to the Camp to volunteer and cook meals for the Water Protectors in her small converted pick up truck.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: A group of riders gather and watch the police line on top of the Turtle Hill where the Natives consider it to be sacred ground.
November 24, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: Michael Zephyr, of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, has been at the camp for 13 weeks and will remain as long as it takes. His 10-year-old companion Sunny will be with him as well.
September 7, 2016 - Cannon Ball, North Dakota, United States: MJ shows off his baseball allegiance on his horse named Champaign.
Sargent Roger Hintson, a Marine Core veteran from San Francisco, CA, holds the US Flag in distress because while he served his country under the correct flag, "I believe America is now in distress." Sgt. Hinston is part of an estimated 2000 veterans who traveled to the camp to provide protection for the Water Protectors against the law enforcement whose methods he considers excessive.