Lakota Country Times: Students witness history at #NoDAPL camp

Students from the Crazy Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota traveled to North Dakota to bear witness to history. Photo courtesy Sunny Clifford

Crazy Horse Students Witness History
By Brandon Ecoffey Lakota Country Times Editor

WANBLEE-- Nearly forty students from the Crazy Horse School traveled to Cannonball, North Dakota, to witness living history as thousands of water protectors have gathered in the area to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

According to Sunny Clifford, a teacher at Crazy Horse High School, the students were joined by several staff members including Silas Blaine on the day long trip. The school says that the students did not go on the trip to join the protest but to observe this moment in history that will likely reverberate for decades across Indian Country.

The idea for the trip was first introduced by staff members on the school's cultural advisory board who felt that the experience would be beneficial to the students.

Joelle Red Willow, 17, is a senior at Crazy Horse School and had spent her last week of summer inside the protest camps near Cannonball that have been set up to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that was supposed to begin being built last week.

"It was an honor to be there and see all the council fires there working to try and find a better way," she said.

Red Willow says that what she had seen in Cannonball was something she wanted to experience with her classmates as it it has motivated to use her voice to address injustices.

"It was an honor to stand with our people," said Red Willow. "When I saw all the elders crying, and to see them all their fighting for everyone it inspired me to speak out even more."

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The pipeline is intended to move 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day to hubs further south but construction on the project has been halted after workers were told leave the job site by their employers due to the protests.

The pipeline that had been quietly ushered through the regulation process is set to be built right next to the Standing Rock Reservation and would run under the Missouri River. The route cuts right through lands included in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has opposed the construction due to the inherent risks that pipelines pose to groundwater. Over the past weekend nearly 3,000 from across the country joined the resistance that has swelled near Cannonball.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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