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Water protectors and supporters rejoice over victory for Native Americans

Posted on: December 6, 2016 12:30 PM
Fireworks marked the celebration over the Oceti Sakowin Camp following the federal government’s Dec. 4 announcement that it would not allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe.
Photo Credit: Michael Pipkin
Related Categories: environment, indigenous, North Dakota, USA, water

[Episcopal News Service, by Lynette Wilson] Episcopal and interfaith chaplains were about to raise a tent in the Oceti Sakowin Camp on Sunday (4 December) when a message runner approached and called them to join the crowd already gathering around the sacred fire in the camp’s centre. They left the tent, poles inserted, on the ground, and they went.

As they joined the hundreds of people around the fire, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II took to the microphone to announce that that federal government said it would not allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, the drinking water source for some 8,000 people living on the Standing Rock Reservation, which covers 2.3 million acres in North and South Dakota.

“It’s significant for all of the people that supported us, standing with us,” said Archambault. “It’s huge. It’s big.”

He called on those present to take the lessons learned from the “Water is Life” movement home with them to heal their families and communities, and to create a better future.

“It’s time that we now move forward and that we don’t forget. I’m just so thankful for all of you,” Archambault said.

The crowd, including many who have been camped out in opposition to the controversial oil pipeline for months, erupted into applause; tears flowed, and people hugged one another in celebration.

  • Read Lynette Wilson’s full in-depth article on the Episcopal News Service website.

  • Click here to read Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s reflections on the US government decision.