You’ve Heard About the Indian Protests But Don’t Really Know What It’s About? A #NODAPL Primer.

The basics on the Dakota Access Pipeline and #NoDAPL, who is involved, and what is at stake.

Amelia Mavis Christnot is a self-described Navy brat who lived all over the USA, but has settled in Northern Maine. Her Father Edward is Oglala Lakota enrolled at Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. He attended boarding school at Pine Ridge Reservation, where he was born. Her late Mother Claudette was of the Kanien’kehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee, as well as an enrolled Metis from New Brunswick, Canada. Amelia identifies with all of her ancestors, including the bit of German that provided her last name. She is a Sacred Pipe carrier and has been active in Native rights since her (brief) time with Native Americans at Dartmouth.


If you’ve been on social media lately you’ve probably seen the hashtag #NoDAPL, often with #KeepItInTheGround or #RezpectOurWater. Or maybe you saw the editorial piece on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC. Or maybe your friends have changed their profile picture to say they stand with Standing Rock or Sacred Stone Camp. Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has spoken out on the subject, as have US Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Oceti Sakowin nation, and senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Tom Udall (NM).

US Olympic gold medalist and founder of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Billy Mills of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Oceti Sakowin nation visits Standing Rock Reservation and meets with Chairman Dave Archambault II on August 18, 2016. Credit: Billy Mills photo/Facebook

Mainstream media offers few resources on this topic. Native media outlets, however, such as Indian Country Today Media Network or CBC Aboriginal or even regional papers like The Lakota Country Times, have been reporting for quite some time on the efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from cutting through and near tribal lands in North Dakota, endangering the only clean water supply for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Pipeline developer Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, notes that approximately 1,172 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe will stretch from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa on its way to Patoka, Illinois.

But to the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation, it is the prophesizedblack snake” that will bring about the end of the world, whether literally or figuratively through contamination of drinking water, destruction of the environment and ancient cultural sites and continued fossil fuel dependence.

The Oceti Sakowin is a nation comprised of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes. Much of the disputed land was deeded to the Oceti Sakowin by the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868. The US government broke that treaty almost as soon as it was signed. On April 1, 2016, citizens of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the largest remaining Oceti Sakowin reservation in the USA, founded a spirit camp along the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline, in what is now Cannon Ball, North Dakota. With strong leadership from

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