Victory March to Backwater Bridge

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Drums beat and 24 miles per hour winds howled as veterans and water protectors marched in victory of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to decline the easement, deferring and rerouting construction of the Dakota Access pipeline until further investigation for an Environmental Impact Statement, Monday, December 5, 2016 (Photos by Rachel Jones)

Amber Cross, 30, sat atop a run-down military truck facing the barricade erected by Dakota Access pipeline security that cut off Backwater bridge, which was too enshrouded by falling snow to see, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. 
Drums beat and 24 miles per hour winds howled as veterans and water protectors marched in victory of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to decline the easement, deferring and rerouting construction of the Dakota Access pipeline until further investigation for an Environmental Impact Statement. 
Cross, from Oglala, S.D., and a member of the Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe has been at  more than a month. She is overwhelmed by the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision, but feels the government needs to do more to protect the people and water. She isn’t leaving until the police kick her out, she said.  Cross chanted, “Mni Waconi” and other water protectors all around chanted back, “Water is life!”
“The vets might have been the tipping point,” said Gray Harrison, 62, an army veteran from Fort Collins, Colo., regarding the Army Corps of Engineers decision to decline the easement. With veterans arriving by the thousands, Harrison said, “They knew the water protectors were not going to back down.”
Jim Berg, 62, and his son Mniluzahe Berg, 36, both Navy veterans, heard the call and came out to support. Mniluzahe served three tours in Iraq. “Its an amazing appalling thing to see congress and the federal government inactive for so long on issues of national importance,” Berg said.
The Army Corps of Engineers’ decision is welcome, but very late, he said, referring to the injuries caused to water protectors by Morton County Sheriff’s department from rubber bullets, concussion grenades and water canons in the interim of the decision.  Berg can’t believe the reaction of law enforcement officers and the government to the right to protest. 
As a Native American who has worked in “Indian country” all his life, to propose a pipeline for profit, Berg said, “That makes me furious.” 
“Most Indian country doesn’t even have pipelines for water,” Berg said.

Amber Cross, 30, sat atop a run-down military truck facing the barricade erected by Dakota Access pipeline security that cut off Backwater bridge, which was too enshrouded by falling snow to see, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (Photo by Rachel Jones)

Water protector prays at Backwater Bridge amid celebration of Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to decline the easement for the continued construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, on Monday, December 5, 2016. (Photo by Rachel Jones)

Veterans and water protectors celebrate the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to decline the easement to continue DAPL construction. This follows the Victory March from Oceti Sakowin camp to Backwater Bridge on Monday, December 5, 2016, the date water protectors were ordered to evacuate. (Photo by Rachel Jones)

 

More Photojournalism Coverage of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest in the Florida Times-Union

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More of my photo coverage published on the front of the Metro section of the Florida Times-Union and jacksonville.com on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

Veterans arrive at Standing Rock to protect the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

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Veterans fly their colors on State Hwy. 1806 as they return to Oceti Sakowin Camp south of the barricade across Cannonball River on Sunday, December 4, 2016.

Veterans head north on State Hwy. 1806 in formation, as more amass in thousands to Oceti Sakowin Camp in support of water protectors, on Sunday, December 4, 2016.

Water protectors had encircled the Oceti Sakowin Camp in prayer when word spread from Sacred Fire that the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sunday, December 4, 2016.

Photojournalism Coverage of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest in the Florida Times-Union

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My photos of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest were on the front page of the Metro section of the Florida Times-Union on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Standing Rock – Dec 3, 2016

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Winter at Standing Rock Camp

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