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Mni Wiconi

After almost a year of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Sioux tribe celebrated a short victory in December of 2016 after the US Army Corps of Engineers reversed their previous decision to build DAPL. They then promised to find an alternative route to the $3.7 million dollar pipeline after thousands of Native Americans flooded Cannon Ball, ND in protest on the stance that the building of the pipeline over sacred land was illegal and would corrupt the tribe’s drinking water. But after Donald Trump’s Inauguration to the U.S Presidency on November 21, he signed an Executive order to proceed with the pipeline.

What is a win for big oil and gas conglomerates is a loss for the Sioux Tribe and respect for their land. Trump signed the order stating that his administration will “re-negotiate some of the terms” and that the pipeline will create “a lot of jobs; 28,000 jobs.”

One of Trump’s many campaign promises was to streamline the construction of the pipeline to “create jobs,” but what some people may not know is that Trump had invested between “$15,000 and $50,000 of Energy Transfer Partners’ stock prompting the newly elected president to sell his stocks so there would not be a conflict of interest according to CNBC.

What was once a campsite overflowing with spirituality and hope is now desolate.  The short victory of the pipeline caused most of the protesters to return home, leaving behind only a few hundred Water Protectors. The former Governor of North dakota, Jack dalrymple, issued an evacuation of all protesters “In his executive order, Gov. Dalrymple recognized the land was under federal, not state, control but cited his power under the North Dakota Disaster Act of 1985 as the state’s top elected official to protect citizens in “the best interest of public safety.  According to The New York Times “The arrests, of 46 people, came a day after an evacuation deadline issued by {the newly elected} Gov. Doug Burgum. Most protesters left Wednesday of their own volition, and others departed Thursday by crossing the frozen Cannonball River to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Those who remained at the main campsite were taken into custody.

With respect to the campsite and a their last rebellion against the Energy Transfer Partners, the remaining protesters burned down the wooden buildings and teepees they used for shelter as a part of the evacuation chanting the anthem of the protest “Mni Wiconi!” meaning “water is life!”

Now, with the end of the protest that motivated thousands of people from around the world to join the Sioux tribe in their fight, including celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Shailene Woodley, and Malia Obama, we all have one final thing to say: Mni Wiconi!

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My name is Ashley Napier and I am a writer for the Her Campus Sonoma State chapter.
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