Standing Rock, North Dakota




The Standing Rock Sioux put out a call come hold ground against an impending oil pipeline construction: The World Answered.


Photos by: Taliesin Gilkes-Bower

Concertina wire blocks the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline worksite on North Dakota Highway 6.

Sunset over the Oceti Sakowin camp. Oceti Sakowin is the traditional name for the Seven Council Fires of the great Sioux Nation.

Elders before receiving copies of the 1493 Vatican issued “Doctrine of Discovery.” 524 Clergy members travelled to Standing Rock to refute this Papal Doctrine. The Doctrine stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed, and exploited by Christian rulers and declared that “the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.” This “Doctrine of Discovery” became the spiritual basis of all European claims in the Americas as well as the foundation for the United States’ western expansion.

A Native clergy member and Korean war veteran joins morning prayer at Ocetic Sakowin camp.

An Elder looks on during the morning prayers and announcements that start each day at the Oceti Sakowin, the largest camp at Standing Rock.

A clergy member marches to the frontline.

Two water protectors stand in power along highway 1806.

Feather sits at camp while sharing the story of her calling to Standing Rock.

Marlo Gray a young Water Protector and tattoo artist from New Mexico outlining the effects of settler colonialism on indigenous peoples.

Dogs or “Sunka” hold a sacred place in Lakota tradition and are a joyful presence in camp.

Two Water Protectors exploring camp in front of a geodesic dome brought by the Burning Man group “Red Lightning.”

Tipi poles at sunset. Standing Rock continues to be an opportunity for young people to learn new skills and exchange stories and skills with Native people from across Turtle Island.

A camp elder traveling with her daughter retells the history of the Lakota people.

Lee Ann Eastman, of the Sisseton Wahpeton tribe, has been arrested twice and continues to fight on the front lines.

Standing Rock has brought together over 300 Indigenous Nations and thousands of ally’s.

Young drummers playing contemporary indigenous pop songs while ring dancers circle a fire.

A Water Protector wearing science goggles handed out to give folks some protection from tear gas and pepper spray.

Morton County Sheriff Department Officers stationed in 24 hour surveillance positions around the perimeter of the Oceti Sakowen Camp while DAPL aerial surveillance fly overhead, despite a federally mandated no fly zone. At night and during prayer ceremonies DAPL surveillance helicopters and airplanes fly particularly low, drowning out prayer and disturbing sleep.

Members of the Oceti Sakowen security team monitor police activity to protect a prayer gathering at the bridge.

A young Water Protector returns from a prayer ceremony on the Backwater Bridge.

Universal symbols of peace and love spread from a group of Water Protectors praying and drumming in front of a line of armed police.

Chase Lauallay looks back at hundreds of Water Protectors praying and singing before crossing onto a burial ground North of Oceti Sakowin.

Chase Lauallay and two Water Protectors ferrying supplies to a frontline prayer protest held on Turtle Island, sacred land being held by Morton Country Sherriffs Department despite its distance for the pipeline work site.

A Water Protector from Ferguson watches a prayerful protest after using ropes to haul Water Protectors across a small river for hours to hold land against militarized police.

Medics clean mace and tear gas from the eyes of a Water Protector.

A tipi in Oceti Sakowin camp under the full moon. The Lakota word thípi [ˈtʰipi] means “a dwelling” or “they dwell”, from the verb thí, meaning “to dwell”.


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