Photos: Native American Pipeline Protest Brings National Attention to N.D. Standoff

The Native American-led protest attempting to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation has gained steam, with protesters streaming in from around the country.

Pipeline opponents are waiting for a federal judge to rule on their request for an injunction against the pipeline company, Energy Transfer. They want a more thorough permitting process that takes into account threats to the reservation's water supply and the tribe's cultural practices. Those concerns were echoed by three federal agencies earlier this year, and appear to have been downplayed by the Army Corps of Engineers when it approved a plan to reroute the pipeline near Standing Rock.

InsideClimate News reporter Phil McKenna traveled to the protest site this week, and documented the protest in photos.

Scenes from the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

The Camp of the Seven Council Fires

Native American demonstrators from around the country have gathered near Cannon Ball, N.D. to protest the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The group, which has swelled to more than 1,000 people, is calling it the Camp of the Seven Council Fires.

Water is Life

The route of the $3.6 billion pipeline would skirt the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation as it carries a half a million barrels of crude each day from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois. The tribe says the pipeline threatens its water supply and its cultural heritage.

A demonstrator attaches himself to equipment

On Aug. 31, a man known as Happy used PVC piping to attach himself to a piece of construction equipment along Highway 6 near Bismarck, N.D.

Arrests at the protest

A sheriff’s deputy asked Happy if he wanted any water. “Water is life,” Happy replied, echoing the rallying cry of the demonstrators. After being removed from the equipment, he was among at least eight people arrested on Wednesday.

Map of demonstrators locations

At the campsite, a map allows demonstrators to mark where they have come from. The protest has drawn supporters from across the country.

I have children, grandchildren to think about

Rachel Brown, of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, leans against the hood of a truck. "They were going to put the pipeline up there north of Bismarck. The people of Bismarck didn't want it there.... [so they] put it down by the Indians and if it breaks, 'Oh well.' That angers me. I have children, grandchildren to think about."

A totem from Washington State

When eight tribes from Washington State rolled into the campsite earlier this week, they brought a totem pole.

Firewood from Minnesota keeps the fire going

Mike Snyder, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe now living in Minnesota, brought firewood. The wood is being used for campfires for cooking and for the main fire around which the tribes perform ceremonies.

Girl and a puppy

Eight-year-old Halen plays with a puppy named Chief at the Camp of the Seven Council Fires.

Idle construction equipment

Construction equipment sits idle. The protest succeeded in shutting down work on the pipeline two weeks ago.

You Are On Indian Land

The main protest site is roughly a mile north of the campsite. Even when the actual demonstrators disperse, the signs continue to send their message loud and clear.


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