I have been following the protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota since early this summer. In the months since protesters first camped on the banks of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers I have become more and more invested in their fight. On Labour day weekend when I first saw the videos of private security attacking the peaceful protesters with dogs and pepper spray I was shaken to my core. Each passing month has only increased my admiration for the water protectors, as well as my disgust for the Morton County sheriff’s department and the Energy Transfer Partners corporation – the company funding the Dakota Access pipeline.
There seems to be no end to the indignities the United States is prepared to subject its native tribes and nations. They are certainly not the only country to have this problem but their deafness to indigenous tribes’ right to protect their land, their religion, and their culture is front and centre at Standing Rock. With the harsh winter weather taking over in North Dakota, the US Army’s deadline to clear the protest camp on December 5th, as well as the promise of 2,000 veterans to join the front lines and act as human shields for the protesters, the coming weeks will be pivotal to this movement.
I have been so touched and inspired by the images pouring out of the Standing Rock protest camps that I want to pay tribute to them. These are images of defiance, of pride, and of bravery. They show the righteous standing up for what they believe in and fighting for a better future in the face of terrifying opposition. They give me hope for a better tomorrow.
If you are able, please consider donating what you can to help the protest camps at Standing Rock. Find out more information on how you can help, here.
Click images for source links.
Top image by Atlanta based photojournalist Ryan Vizzions aka. Redhawk.