The camp resides in our rear view as our journey comes to a close. The farther we get away from the once-in-a-lifetime experience, the more apparent it becomes that it was real. The gravity of the situation, the symbolism of it all; it strikes us as we fall under the weight of our Dakota Access Pipeline experience.
As we left my roommate and I looked at each other and realized in that moment that we accomplished what we had set out to do. We stood with those that share a common cause. We provided what aid we could in support of the beautiful people protecting every day. We listened to those that would speak with us about their struggles, determination and opinion. We realized we had been and contributed to a cause larger than ourselves.
History seems to be repeating itself as of late with various population groups in America; the pipeline conflict is a stark reminder of the resilience passion carries and that belittled populations will fight for their beliefs. We need, now more than ever, to raise our voices on the issues we care about. We need now more than ever to advocate for the voiceless and stand with those struggling to make theirs heard.
I will never forget the things I experienced on that sacred ground. The recent victory for the Sioux is a great step forward but it is cautiously welcome. There is no telling what the future may hold for the Sioux and the Dakota Access Pipeline, the hope is that the victory is sustained. If it is not, I will not be the only one back on the grounds ready to advocate for the voiceless and stand with those struggling to make theirs heard.
Content and Photograph by Alexandrea Rager