Water Protectors Camp Near Standing Rock: A Photo Essay

The Sacred Stones Camp where we stayed was just outside the reservation.
The Sacred Stones Camp where we stayed was just outside the reservation.

My friend Bob Klanderud and I drove to North Dakota this weekend to spend a few hours standing in solidarity with those who are working to protect the water and the sacred lands near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

It’s about an eight-hour drive from the Twin Cities.

In previous blogs, we have provided some of the political and legal context behind this story. With this post, we simply want to share images from the campground.

Still, for those who have not been following it, here is a quick rehash of the news. In previous blogs, we have linked to reports that state the original pipeline route would have crossed the Missouri near Bismarck, ND, “but authorities worried that an oil spill there would have wrecked the state capital’s drinking water.” So instead, it got rerouted so that plans now call for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River just one mile upstream from the Standing Rock Nation’s fresh water intake. The pipeline also would pass over sacred ground, including burial sites.

This blog has shared articles about how the pipeline company provoked a confrontation by using heavy equipment to dig up a sacred site while a court case was pending, instigating a clash between pipeline opponents  and the pipeline company’s private security guards, who had mace and attack dogs. We have written about how religious leaders are coming out in support of the Standing Rock Nation.

There are multiple camp sites, and we stayed at the main camp. The main camp is just outside the reservation on federal land. Until recently, the camp was operating illegally. According to Indian Country Today, last Friday the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe got “an official permit to use federal lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ‘gather to engage in a lawful free speech demonstration … ‘”

OK, enough background. I have no knowledge of the camp politics or any developing strategy regarding the pipeline, but here (more or less in focus) is what I saw.

There is a central area with a fire where people meet at night to listen to speakers and hear singers.
There is a central area with a fire where people meet at night to listen to speakers, hear singers and pray.
The camp has many volunteers, including those who help prepare the food.
The camp has many volunteers, including those who help prepare the food …
... And those who cook it.
… And those who cook it.
There are sweat lodges for traditional healing ...
There are sweat lodges for traditional healing …
... And an ambulance on site in case of emergencies.
… And an ambulance on site in case of emergencies.
There is a constant buzz of chainsaws as volunteers keep the camp stocked with firewood.
There is a constant buzz of chainsaws as volunteers keep the camp stocked with firewood …
... And solar panels help power the camp, too.
… And solar panels help power the camp, too.
People have brought flags to represent their nation or organization ...
People have brought flags to represent their nation or organization …
... And they have brought donations of food and clothing.
… And they have brought many, many donations of food and clothing.
People have brought signs, large and small ...
People have brought signs, large and small …
... Including this one to tell anyone doing surveillance. (We did see one drone while we were there, source unknown.
… Including this one aimed at anyone flying overhead.
A number of people had versions of the U.S. flag flying upside down, an officially recognized signal of distress.
A number of people had versions of the U.S. flag flying upside down, an officially recognized signal of distress.
Roads are roughed out and people find a place to put up their tents.
Roads are roughed out and people find a place to put up their tents.
And the camp also has a spot for the horses.
And the camp also has a spot for the horses.
The camp is a chance to bump into old friends. Here, Bob Klanderud ran into Keri Pickett.
The camp is a chance to bump into old friends. Here, Bob Klanderud ran into Keri Pickett.
Looking upstream at the Cannon Ball River as it flows towards the Missouri.
The main camp is located just north of the Cannon Ball River, which flows into the Missouri.
Moon rise at the camp.
The camp is a beautiful spot to watch the moon rise.
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2 thoughts on “Water Protectors Camp Near Standing Rock: A Photo Essay

  1. Thanks for sharing these images and stories! Is the camp welcoming of other supporters who can only make it for the weekend? Is there a central site somewhere with lists of ongoing needs for donations or volunteers?

    Like

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