Prayers and indigenous songs floated through the air as young people voiced their determination to continue advocating against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It has been five years since the NoDAPL movement began in Standing Rock, and the Dakota Sioux have successfully fought the destruction of sacred waters by the Keystone pipeline.
Standing Rock will also be a Pilgrim Team visit site in early May for the World Council of Churches (WCC), as the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace has a regional focus on the North America Region in 2021.
The 2021 Seven Weeks for Water Lenten campaign, which offered a pilgrimage of water justice in the North America, included Standing Rock as part of a series of reflections.
Along the banks of the Cannon Ball River, near the site of the proposed pipeline pathway under the Missouri River waters, is a place known as Sacred Stone Camp. Now those who are praying and singing for water justice often gather there.
Young people who ran from Standing Rock to Omaha, Nebraska and then again to Washington, DC, brought even more notice to the birthing of the movement against underground pipelines crossing sacred lands, posing risks to indigenous communities that rely on the water that the pipelines threaten.
Young people are focusing on honoring indigenous people’s cultures and their treaty rights, combating environmental racism, and changing the sources of energy from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energies.