A group of brave young people from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota ran about 100 miles in one day from home to the prayer campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota to show their support for their northern neighbors, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the overall #NoDAPL campaign. They left at 7a.m. on Saturday August 20, and arrived at the construction site near the camp in the early evening.
Singers from around the Oceti Sakowin or great Sioux Nation, including Standing Rock’s historic preservation officer Jon Eagle, sang an honor song as the people of the camp joined the celebration to express their gratitude to the young runners.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is one of many communities in addition to Standing Rock who would be devastated by an oil spill from the pipeline as they, too, rely on the south-flowing Missouri River waters for their livelihood.
The true spirit of this gathering is contrary to that of the images put forth by mainstream and conservative media. Many have described the camp as violent and dangerous, leading the Governor of North Dakota to issue a state of emergency, spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on extra law enforcement in hopes of blocking visitors from entering the Reservation. The State has even cut off the water supply that the Tribe had initially received from the North Dakota Public Service department, citing that the equipment would be in danger on site in Cannon Ball.
The reality of the camp is that it is a place of prayer, family gathering, and celebration of culture. Folks from all over are gathered together to support one another through a scary time in which their water and livelihood are at risk.