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Dakota Access: Peace, Prayer and Horses at Camp of the Sacred Stones [Photos]

Editor's note: ICTMN contributors Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins spent last weekend out at the Camp of the Sacred Stones, interviewing a myriad of people from those on the ground, to Olympian Billy Mills. Here are photos by Collins accompanied by text written by Luger, all showing the beauty, the power, and yes, the peace exuded at this gathering that has swelled to more than 4,000 at last count. 

Photo: Thosh Collins

Each morning at the Cannon Ball prayer camps, participants walk and ride horse from the campsite to the construction site, about a half-mile away. Songs are sung and prayers are offered by all.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Veterans from tribal nations, including several bands of Lakota and Ojibwe people, carry staffs to lead the crowd toward the pipe ceremony just outside the gate of the construction site.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Riders on horseback exit the campsite and keep a watchful eye to ensure that folks stay safe and protected. Some paint their horses in traditional designs.

Photo: Thosh Collins

4. On Friday, August 20, rain poured on campsite participants as they headed toward a prayer ceremony near the construction site. Camp leader Jon Eagle mentioned that the horse nation brought the rain as good medicine.

Photo: Thosh Collins

The Lakota people refer to warriors as “akicita” and still use this term while referring to veterans. The akicita lead the way toward the prayer site in the rain.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Many camp participants adorned their trucks with tribal flags and messages of hope, such as the popular phrase “No DAPL” meaning “No Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Photo: Thosh Collins

Onlookers from many tribal nations stand over the Cannonball River bridge, where dozens of canoes entered the water as to show their gratitude to the water. “Mni Wiconi” is the Lakota phrase for “water is life.”

Photo: Thosh Collins

Wyatt Bailey left) and Kent St. John right), locals from Cannon Ball, join their friends and family while riding horse through the camp, enjoying the familial and cultural spirit of activities while checking out the scene.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Children and teens from Standing Rock and surrounding Lakota/Dakota communities rode and led bareback horses around the camp to demonstrate their traditional horse culture.

Photo: Thosh Collins

A young girl leads her horse near the riverbank while behind her, hundreds gather for lunch at the camp’s central meeting location.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Toward the back of the Cannon Ball prayer camp north of Cannon Ball, ND, a teen boy guides a younger relative by leading him on a horse.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Supporters wave tribal flags to show solidarity with Standing Rock as canoes enter the water near the Cannon Ball prayer camp.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Hundreds of people lined the shores of the Cannonball River - a tributary of the Missouri river, comprising the northern border of the Standing Rock Reservation - where canoes entered the water on Saturday 8/20.

Photo: Thosh Collins

Onlookers raise their fists in solidarity with Standing Rock and hold signs stating “NoDAPL” and “Mni Wiconi.”