A water protector raises her hand as police officials lines up the hill on Turtle Island on Thanksgiving day. For months, Native Americans and their allies have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) intended to cross under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River. The 1,172-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline project would not only pollute the region water supplies but also desecrate their sacred lands.
Police officials used water cannons, mace canisters, rubber bullets to disperse the crowd on Sunday Nov 20th, 2016. Water protectors then started fires to keep themselves warm in below freezing temperatures. The officials got fire trucks to douse the camp fires, while water protectors did their best and use tarps to prevent the fires from getting extinguished. While many suffered from hypothermia, one of the elders went into cardiac arrest, a 21-year-old almost lost her arm because of the concussion grenade that hit her.
Water protectors engage with police officials near Backwater Bridge very close to the Oceti Sakowin Camp, in North Dakota. Police Officials used tear gas, water cannons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of protectors on Sunday, Nov 20, 2016.
Water protectors held a peaceful prayer on Thanksgiving day at Turtle island very close to the Oceti Sakowin camp. Chants of "Mni wiconi!" meaning "Water is life" echoed throughout the protest.
Kereama Te Ua, is from the Land of the Long White cloud, Ontario, New Zealand. He is a part of the the Maori, indigenous people of New Zealand. “I bring with me the tears, the love, the prayers of my ancestors and my people to stand in solidarity not just for people of Standing Rock but all the indigenous people of the world. This is a moment in history where we all need to come together, each and every one of us has been selected for some reason to be here. One of the leaders for Maori people told us to stand up and Hakka, our traditional dance, to stand up in Hakka for Standing Rock. So we did and started a Facebook page to get support for our people and overnight 40000 followers that grew to 200000 followers. Within a couple of days our people from little children to elders, different groups, different walks of life, we lead to the rivers, mountains, lakes and oceans. We stood in solidarity to Hakka to pray, to sing here and support not only the people but ancestors of this land"
Water protectors built a makeshift bridge and used boats to cross over to the Turtle island from the Oceti Sakowin camp on Thanksgiving day.
A medic worker puts water on Isiaah after he was tear-gased at a demonstration near backwater bridge on Sunday, Nov 20.
Water protectors built a makeshift bridge and used boats to cross over to the Turtle island from the camp on Thanksgiving day. The island is a sacred burial site of ancestors of Standing Rock tribe. The protectors led a peaceful prayer while the police officials lined on the top of the hill kept on repeating, "We do not want to have a confrontation with you especially today"( referring to the Thanksgiving day)
A water protector burns sage during an action on Thanksgiving day near Turtle island. Sage is considered sacred in Native American culture and burning it helps cleanse negative energies. It is hence commonly used in ceremonies, and in prayers held to stall the pipeline construction.
Barbed wires seen near Backwater bridge on the night of Nov 21st 2016 when Morton county officials deployed water cannons, tear gas, mace canisters on nearly 400 water protectors in below freezing temperatures.
Police Officials used tear gas , water cannons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of water protectors near Blackwater Bridge in North Dakota on Sunday, Nov 20, 2016.
Water protectors peacefully protest as police officials line up on the hill on Thanksgiving day.
Ashley Bell, Connecticut has been in Standing Rock for almost 2 weeks since the first week of November. She studies herbal medicine and worked in the herbal/medic tent in the camp. “People are happy to have the option of natural medicines. I quit my job because I felt this issue was important. It has grown since July, I was in South Dakota watching the news and see it escalate. A lot of friends and family live here and plan to be here till the end. This country was founded on 6 major pipelines built on native land, And this cannot continue. A lot of factors like class, race, industrial issue, lack of protection for sacred lands are involved in this. Even though the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) exists, industry doesn’t pay respect, big corporations have money and disturb the ancestral remains. They just pay the fines”