Native Americans and activists celebrate the decision to halt plans to construct an oil pipeline through tribal lands.
Standing Rock Indian Reservation, United States – When word came down from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Oceti Sakowin camp that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) had been denied the final easement to drill below the Missouri River, residents of the camp celebrated the victory with hundreds of veterans who had come to protect natives and their allies.
The excessive force used by authorities in recent clashes near the drilling site had spurred a public outcry on behalf of the unarmed occupants, who call themselves “water protectors”, of Oceti Sakowin, and many veterans saw it as a call for action. For the veterans, native and non-native alike, of every age and from every war, travelling to Standing Rock was an extension of their lifelong commitment to serving the country.
Successive blizzards have left the camp thickly blanketed with snow.
Even as winter rages over the Dakotas and temperatures plummet below freezing, members of the movement are not ready to pack it in yet. Those who have chosen to hold the ground at Oceti Sakowin have doubts that Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the DAPL, will honour the Army Corps’ decision.
With the rapidly approaching term of President-elect Donald Trump, who has been vocal in his support of the pipeline, many fear that the struggle has only just begun.