Sometime last year, the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota became not just a physical location but an iconic challenge to the national conscience. Like the Selma civil rights marches in 1965 or the Frank’s Landing tribal fishing-rights demonstrations in 1970, Standing Rock’s water protectors, as they call themselves, have transformed ideas of advocacy and resistance with nonviolent direct action and prayer. They have built coalitions across movements for tribal sovereignty, defense of natural resources, resistance to expanding energy infrastructure, and cultural survival. They have shown the world a culture grounded in stewardship and connection to Earth.
The resistance that persisted even through the cold and dark of the North Dakota winter, with ongoing injuries and arrests, shows how difficult, dangerous, and uncertain it can be to speak truth to power.
Now the spirit of Standing Rock is on the move.