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The Struggle of Standing Rock

Standing Rock’s “home pole” to show where everyone came from

Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

Many of you have probably been following the #NoDAPL movement for some time now. It was a long and treacherous fight for those in the Standing Rock camps, and those who were doing what they could from far away. There were protests all over the world, thousands rallied at the construction site — many have been living there for months, there were trials and pleas for the government to halt the pipeline. They endured police brutality, outside criticism, and harsh weather conditions for months. We watched Shailene Woodley get arrested at a march while live streaming. We saw the police use water cannons on protesters in below-freezing weather. We read about a woman who nearly lost her arm after being hit with a concussion grenade. We followed as numerous celebrities joined the water protectors over Thanksgiving. We watched as elders were injured and arrested by police. We stayed vigilant as the local police continously lied about the events unfolding at the camps. Even veterans joined the protests on multiple occassions, determined to protect and stand with the tribe. For a brief moment, it seemed that that Sioux Tribe’s prayers had been answered when the pipeline was not allowed easement to be built in that particular area. The world rejoiced, but many knew that it was only temporary with Donald Trump heading for the White House. Many stayed behind, claiming the construction was continuing, while others headed home. Some cities, such as Portland’s neighbor Seattle, divested $3 billion from Wells Fargo as a city-wide protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. UP’s Native American Association collected donations for those at the Standing Rock camps. At Portland’s Disrupt J20 protest, a group of #NoDAPL protesters even gave me an extra sign to carry, which I also brought with me to the Women’s March the next morning. But on February 23rd, the last of the camp’s inhabitants were forcibly cleared out.

This was a historical movement seen and heard around the world. My heart broke when I learned that Trump had granted easement for the pipeline and ended the investigation into possible environmental risks. Those involved in the long-term protest fought hard, many risking their well-being and even lives to fight for what’s right. It’s devastating that this has been added to the list of injustices against Native Americans, the environment, and American/minority communities as a whole. There is much to be said about this pipeline and the actions taken — the violence — against indigenous populations again and again. I hope that people will continue to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and fight for future communities who are harmed in favor of corporate greed. This has always been America, but it’s time for that to come to an end. 

Here is an article that lays out more extra information about what happened in North Dakota over the past few months.

This is a tribute to the fight and struggle of Standing Rock and the water protectors — featuring some of my favorite, moving images from the front lines:


Protestors arriving at one of the camps.

Photo by Alyssa Schukar


Photo by Robyn Beck / Getty Images

Photo by Robyn Beck / Getty Images

Native American protesters in Chicago

Photo by Tannen Maury / European Pressphoto Agency

Boston Globe / Getty Images

Water Protectors and local police face off.

Photo by Mike McCleary / Associated Press

Protest at an Army Corps office in Dallas, Texas

Photo by LM Otero / Associated Press

Photo by Brian Powers / USA Today

The camp in the dead of Winter.

Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

Philedelphia protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline

Photo by Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Protesters occupty a Wells Fargo in Eugene, Oregon

Photo by Chris Pietsch / The Register-Guard

A woman holds a branch of cedar during a prayer ceremony on Backwater Bridge.

Photo by Stephanie Keith / Reuters

Cash Jackson leading other veterans on a march.

Photo by Brian Powers / USA Today

Veterans at Standing Rock.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Photo by David Goldman / Associated Press

Raymond Kingfisher of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe during a march near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. 

Photo byTerray Sylvester / Reuters

Water Protectors set fire to the camp’s remains.

Photo by Stephanie Yang / Getty Images

Stephen Yang / Getty Images  

The reminants of the last stand, February 23rd, 2017.

Photo byTerray Sylvester / Reuters

I'm a junior psychology major at the University of Portland. I'm an portrait photographer, intersectional feminist and Vice President of UP's Feminist Discussion Group, an activist, lover of reading and writing, and member of the LGBT+ community.
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