"A Nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground." - Cheyenne teaching.
Pictures from my stay at the Oceti Sakowin camp in the Standing Rock Reservation during winter 2016.
Thousands of protesters—comprising of members of the Sioux Tribe, indigenous people from across America, non-indigenous allies, and veterans—camped out at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the effort to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The proposed pipeline would have carried crude oil underneath Lake Oahe, a dammed-up part of Missouri River and the main water source for the reservation. The Sioux tribe has repeatedly expressed concerns that the pipeline could lead to contamination of their water supply and threaten its water and treaty rights.
The Dakota Access Pipeline or Bakken pipeline is a 1,172-mile-long (1,886 km), $3.7 billion underground oil pipeline that runs from the Bakken oil fields in Northwest North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, before terminating at an oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline was due to be completed on January 1, 2017.
The pipeline has been controversial regarding its necessity, potential harm to the environment and groundwater, and impact on climate change. Many Native Americans tribes in Iowa, the Dakotas, and across the United States have opposed the pipeline. In August 2016, ReZpect Our Water, a group organized by the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, brought a petition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C. The tribe sued for an injunction. An active protest at the pipeline site in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation has drawn international attention in response to the thousands of people who are protesting the construction of the pipeline.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe view the pipeline as both an environmental and cultural threat to their reservation. They argue that an oil spill would permanently contaminate the reservation's water supply and all of the Missouri River watershed downstream of the pipeline. Additionally, construction of the pipeline would destroy sacred sites where many of their ancestors are buried.