In April, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe established the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota to protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens sacred lands and could contaminate water supplies from the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
Since then, thousands of activists—rallied around the causes of indigenous rights and climate change—have joined the protest and made their way to Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Law enforcement, on their part, has reacted by using tear gas, water cannons (in below-freezing temperatures), rubber bullets, and sound weapons against protestors. Over 400 people have been arrested and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently issued an ultimatum stating that they will close the camp to all public use by December 5.
Photographer Taliesin Gilkes-Bowertook these breathtaking photos at Standing Rock and is sharing them in hopes of getting more people to help and donate.
“It’s politricks time again,” he writes to Okayafrica. “October. Indigenous People’s Month. November. Thanksgiving. December. Christmas. Apocalypse comes from the Greek and literally means a revelation or unveiling. As in: the veil has been lifted. As in: Octavia saw it coming, Delaney saw it coming, Erykah saw it coming, Wainaina saw it coming, Winona and Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and Peltier, they too all knew what unbridled capitalism Satanically wed to settler colonialism would bring to this Earth. And here we are. The 7th generation manifest in peace and power reflected.”
“Moments of revelation are painful in their truth and possibility,” Gilkes-Bowe continues. “For thousands of years the front lines have been our communities, our homes and our bodies. At Standing Rock the front line is the Back Water bridge on highway 1806 and Sioux burial grounds that have already been riven in the name of profit.”
“Thousands upon thousands have gathered unarmed in prayer to stand with the spirit of a universal truth: ‘Mni Wiconi, Water Is Life.’ Across the river, militarized police defend a private corporation’s interests with the weapons of war. The Army Core of Engineers propose a “Free Speech Zone.” It’s getting cold in North Dakota, but spirits across the camps are stronger than ever.”
“Are you ready to join this fight? Can you find time to pray today, to donate, to go. Maybe you’re already in the mix in your own community and this is yet another reminder why we wake up everyday and face this global vampire. Energy Transfer Partners is perfectly named for a Janus face of this creeping monoculture that seeks to monetize and destroy all that we call sacred. Some things are simple, the people are rising, where are you called to serve?”