The Movement Continues

Seven Generations 2020

On November 20, 2016, North Dakota law enforcement fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons at Water Protectors near the site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), on the Standing Rock Lakota reservation. Temperatures fell below freezing. Twenty-six people were hospitalized, and more than three hundred were injured. Indigenous activists from New Mexico were there that night. They were there to protect Mni Sose, or the Missouri River, from the Dakota Access Pipeline, set to run oil underneath it. Similar pipelines had spilled and contaminated local water sources; the Water Protectors at Standing Rock were there to prevent another pipeline from contaminating their water source and desecrating sacred sites.

Much like the Red Power activism of the 1960s, what was dubbed the #NoDAPL movement began with young people. In April 2016, a group of Standing Rock Lakota teens launched an online campaign called “Rezpect Our Water.” The group circulated a petition to stop pipeline construction and organized a 2,000-mile relay run from North Dakota to Washington, DC, to raise awareness. A camp had also been set up in April, on LaDonna Brave Bull Allard’s land between the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, which was called Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí, or Sacred Stone Camp. By August, the campsite had expanded as people from all over the country poured in.