Reclaiming the Land: 7 Heroes of Native American Resistance
Reclaiming the Land: 7 Heroes of Native American Resistance

Reclaiming the Land: 7 Heroes of Native American Resistance

Michelle Powell-Smith - September 21, 2016

Reclaiming the Land: 7 Heroes of Native American Resistance
President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama, join Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II, and the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation, in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, June 13, 2014, during a Cannon Ball flag day celebration, at the Cannon Ball powwow grounds. ItÂ’s the presidentÂ’s first trip to Indian Country as president and only the third such visit by a sitting president in almost 80 years. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Dave Archambault II

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, is one of the key leaders in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest of 2016. Elected in 2013, Archambault is a quiet and education business owner, who has worked ceaselessly to improve conditions for the people on the Standing Rock reservation and other reservations across the country.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, as planned, will cross four states and the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux, and all those who have joined them, fear for the well-being of sacred sites, including burial grounds, as well as water access for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and many communities living downstream from the pipeline.

Under the leadership of Archambault and others, Native Americans from across the United States and Canada have joined the protest, forming a massive prayer camp. The protesters, calling themselves water protectors, have been subject to attacks by pepper spray and trained attack dogs, and the pipeline company has, on at least one occasion, intentionally destroyed sacred burial grounds.

Throughout this protest, Archambault has remained a solid and calm voice, encouraging peaceful, but strong protest among his people. In doing so, he has brought together a great alliance of native voices, from those arriving in cars and campers to those coming in traditional canoes to lend their voices and support to this mission.

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