A massive herd of American bison materialized out of nowhere during the Standing Rock Dakota pipeline protest in North Dakota. A video of the sudden emergence of the buffalo amid the heated protest has now gone viral.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline since 2014, Time reports. It was only in recent weeks that the issue has garnered national attention. Thousands of protesters, many of whom are Native Americans, come from all over the United States, from Canada, and from South America. They are trying to block the 1,200-mile pipeline from being built. It is the largest gathering of Native American tribes in modern history.
Chaos has erupted during the protests. Mass arrests had reportedly been made just as the stampeding herd of American bison appeared on the horizon near the Standing Rock protest camp. The Native Americans embroiled in the protest cheered wildly at the beautiful sight. The protesters are worried the Dakota pipeline will harm the Missouri River, which provides water for the area’s tribes and local communities.
Native American consider the bison a symbol of honor and great sacrifice. The buffalo have been harvested to provide food, clothing, and shelter by the native tribes for thousands of years. The tribes consider the bison a spiritual sign as a gift from the Great Spirit. When buffalo herds are allowed to remain free, their numbers grow, creating a great bounty and bringing strength to the tribe.
— PoliticalScrutiny101 (@PoliScrutiny101) October 28, 2016
The Dakota Access Pipeline is being built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. If it is finished, it will transport about 570,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois on a daily basis. The same pipeline would also reportedly serve as a “key conduit” in the connection of oil wells to the Bakken Shale deposits in North Dakota. The $4 billion project is slated for completion by the end of the year.
Myron Dewey, a videographer, was at the Dakota pipeline protest filming the scene and talking to participants about the issue. Dewey was asking a protester how he felt about seeing his tribe’s traditional land being converged upon by law enforcement members and the invasion of the pipeline right before the buffalo appeared, the Digital Journal reports.
The Native American protester said he felt hurt and lamented that so many people will not understand how deeply or why he and his tribe members feel that way. As he continued to talk, more armed law enforcement officers moved closer to the protesters. The protester then noticed the appearance of the buffalo, and in turn, pointed out the amazing sight to those around him. Dewey captured the entire encounter on video.
Approximately 500 Native Americans tribes have united for the Dakota pipeline protests, US Uncut reports. Hundreds of tribe members and other protesters have reportedly been arrested in just the past week. The Dakota Access Pipeline took the land for the project via eminent domain. Those who are protesting on the land are now being arrested on trespassing-related charges.
Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, has deemed the law enforcement response “militarized.” The tribal leader also urged protesters to keep the demonstrations peaceful.
“Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today. We continue to pray for peace,” Dave Archambault II said. “We won’t step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leaders have called upon both the North Dakota state government and the federal government to respect their constitutional rights, water rights, and to stop what they feel is a complete mistreatment of the Native American people living on the land.
“We call on the state of North Dakota to oversee the actions of local law enforcement to, first and foremost, ensure everyone’s safety. The Department of Justice must send overseers immediately to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights and the safety of thousands here at Standing Rock,” David Archambault II said to West Dakota Fox News.
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