Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th successive keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf pipe leads hundreds from the Oceti Sakowin camp. Credit: Lauren Donovan.
An upside down flag hangs in the center of a new community larger than most small towns in North Dakota. It’s a protest camp near the Cannonball River at the border of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
The flag is a symbol of distress, that the area had been taken over by an enemy. But the atmosphere Thursday afternoon at the Seven Councils or Overflow Camp, where hundreds are staying in Morton County, hardly feels urgent. Rather, it’s joyful and cooperative.
The setup is an extension of the Camp of Sacred Stones, located on the reservation at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, where people have been protesting an oil pipeline since April. During the past week, the once-small effort has grown to an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people.
Walter Brave. Credit: Tom Stromme.
Kat Eng, who has been at Sacred Stone Camp since April, holding Wiconi Suta Win Hopkins. Credit: Tom Stromme.
Oceti Sakowin (Seven Councils) camp. Credit: Tom Stromme.
Oceti Sakowin Camp. Credit: Tom Stromme.
Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier. Credit: Lauren Donovan.
Joye Braun, one of the organizers, described the Camp of Sacred Stones similarly to the overflow camp, though the focus is on prayer. She denied a Tribune reporter and photographer access to that camp.
Security also seemed tighter at the entrance to the Camp of Sacred Stones. People coming in were asked if they had alcohol or guns and if they were a “Fed.”
Mark Tilsen, a former teacher on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, said he chose to stay at the second camp, not the original spirit camp, because space is limited there and he wants to turn his attention toward action instead of prayer.
“For Oglala, we’ve been praying all summer, and we’re done with it,” Tilsen said. “We’re here to stop the pipeline.”
Dakota Access Pipeline Standoff. – Feds Grant TRO Against Standing Rock Members. – Dakota Access Protest: We’re being sued – help us fight it! – Dakota Access Standoff Calls on Obama. – Among Those Arrested… – Sacred Stone Camp: Calling Water Warriors! – Dakota Access: About That Oil… – Dakota Access Purchaser Looking Like Enron. – Standing Rock and IITC File Urgent Communication to UN. – Sacred Stone Camp. – North Dakota: State of Emergency Declared. – Solidarity Sings! – Settling into Camp –