This weekend a friend and I drove up to the Oceti Sakowin camp to join the water protectors working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. I wish we had more time to spend there but we were limited by work schedules. It's hard to want to come back to work when you see the heart and dedication of the people working there, and the importance of working against the pipeline. I met a Oglala Lakota woman who had been at camp for 90 days, this isn't short term.
The first day we mostly spent getting oriented around camp, learning as much as we could and getting acquainted with the expectations for us as guests. We then went up to Mandan, North Dakota, where there was a prayer vigil for those folks who had been arrested and were still in jail.
I met Jerica Meditz while she was cleaning her horse's corral. She was given her horse Shota while at camp, and will be riding him on the front lines. The amount of work that goes into keeping the camps running is incredible. A film maker I met told me "There are no small jobs" and it's true, everyone plays a part in keeping things going.
Saturday morning we walked down to where the Police had blocked off Highway 1806. This was the site of the confrontation between police and water protectors that happened at the end of October. The police had blocked off the highway to keep anyone from getting near the construction site by parking two military style tricks on the road. Those trucks were eventually burned during the confrontation, and still remain on the highway as a barricade, beyond which the police are constantly present.
I'm so thankful I was able to go out lend a small hand to those doing the real work. Hopefully I will be able to go back again. I want to thank everyone I met for talking to me, and allowing me into their space, and especially those who I had the honor of photographing. Mni Wiconi.