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In Good Standing at Standing Rock

Text and Photos by iLCP Fellow Amy Gulick 

Standing Rock, ND | December 1, 2016

I came to listen. To the elders, water protectors, and silent prayers.

I came to learn. About strength of ceremony, compassion and community, and power of peaceful resistance.

I came to know. That generosity comes in many forms, all blood is red, and water is life.

I came to sense. A deep awakening, rising spirit, and ancestral wisdom.

I came to give. Resources, resolve, and respect.

I came to stand.

Amy Gulick is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. She respectfully thanks the Standing Rock Sioux for allowing her to be a guest on their land and sharing their values and way of life.

©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com Water protectors stand in a peaceful ceremonial circle on Highway 1806 just south of where Backwater Bridge crosses Cantapeta Creek. Armed police have blockaded the bridge with concrete barriers, razor wire, and vehicles.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
Water protectors stand in a peaceful ceremonial circle on Highway 1806 just south of where Backwater Bridge crosses Cantapeta Creek. Armed police have blockaded the bridge with concrete barriers, razor wire, and vehicles.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com The Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Cannonball River, where thousands have come to support the Standing Rock Sioux, is a ceremonial camp in a constant state of prayer.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
The Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Cannonball River, where thousands have come to support the Standing Rock Sioux, is a ceremonial camp in a constant state of prayer.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com Water protectors gather at Cantapeta Creek near the base of Turtle Island, a sacred area to the Standing Rock Sioux containing ancestral burial sites. Armed police and vehicles occupy the top of the island.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
Water protectors gather at Cantapeta Creek near the base of Turtle Island, a sacred area to the Standing Rock Sioux containing ancestral burial sites. Armed police and vehicles occupy the top of the island.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com A volunteer construction crew builds a winter shelter at Oceti Sakowin Camp. Thousands of people have come here in support of the Standing Rock Sioux to protect the source of their drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
A volunteer construction crew builds a winter shelter at Oceti Sakowin Camp. Thousands of people have come here in support of the Standing Rock Sioux to protect the source of their drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com Armed police have blockaded the Backwater Bridge across Cantapeta Creek, preventing travel on Highway 1806 between Cannon Ball and Bismarck, North Dakota. Construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline northeast of the bridge is slated to tunnel beneath the Missouri River upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, posing potential threats to the tribe's drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
Armed police have blockaded the Backwater Bridge across Cantapeta Creek, preventing travel on Highway 1806 between Cannon Ball and Bismarck, North Dakota. Construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline northeast of the bridge is slated to tunnel beneath the Missouri River upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, posing potential threats to the tribe’s drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com The ceremonial Oceti Sakowin Camp at night. Armed police, flood lights, and barricades occupy nearby lands sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
The ceremonial Oceti Sakowin Camp at night. Armed police, flood lights, and barricades occupy nearby lands sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com       Armed police and vehicles occupy the top of Turtle Island, a sacred site to the Standing Rock Sioux. Water protectors gather at the base of the island to pray to their ancestors. The Dakota Access oil pipeline is being constructed just beyond Turtle Island, and is currently routed to tunnel beneath the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of supporters from all over the world are stationed in nearby encampments to protect the source of the tribe’s drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com      
Armed police and vehicles occupy the top of Turtle Island, a sacred site to the Standing Rock Sioux. Water protectors gather at the base of the island to pray to their ancestors. The Dakota Access oil pipeline is being constructed just beyond Turtle Island, and is currently routed to tunnel beneath the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of supporters from all over the world are stationed in nearby encampments to protect the source of the tribe’s drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com Flags at Oceti Sakowin Camp represent more than 300 indigenous groups in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their efforts to protect their drinking water.
©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com
Flags at Oceti Sakowin Camp represent more than 300 indigenous groups in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their efforts to protect their drinking water.
Map created by Carl Sack
Map created by Carl Sack (Click to enlarge)

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.

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Comments

  1. Connie Bransilver
    Naples, FL
    December 14, 2016, 10:57 am

    Powerful visual testimony, Amy, and a tribute to our first Americans and their recapture of strength and significance in 21st C. America.

  2. Djuna Mascall
    United States
    December 5, 2016, 6:16 pm

    Powerful photos! You capture the sharp contrast between the sacred life of the Standing Rock Sioux and the lack of respect for the land and waters by the armed police. May reverence for our planet and all beings prevail. Thank you for your work Amy.

  3. Deb Russo
    Saint Charles
    December 5, 2016, 3:40 pm

    The teepee photo is my favorite. The people coming together in their traditional way. Im so happy that this standoff was successful.

  4. Ruth McHenry
    Kenny Lake, Alaska
    December 5, 2016, 2:51 pm

    Parka hoods off to you, Amy, for going there! Your photos are, as usual, excellent and give a better sense of the layout. The teepee shots were both striking–one with figures silhouetted against by the golden campfire glow, the other contrasting with the hard glare of police lighting. Standing Rock sets a role model for those of us who want to protect land, water, and wildlife.

  5. Gail Selleg
    Chicago, IL
    December 5, 2016, 12:25 am

    Thanks Amy Gulick for the images and words from the DAPL. Thank you for defending the Native Americans air, water, land and plants. Thank you for Standing Up for Standing Rock! Congratulations on the current hold on the Army Core of Engineers plans. I don’t want any oil piplines running underground or water anywhere in the country. We need to keep up the railroads.

  6. Gail Selleg
    Chicago, IL
    December 5, 2016, 12:20 am

    Tepee shot is awesome. Thanks for the education. There is no reason to go under rivers, streams, etc. It is just NOT worth the risk. We have things called RAILROADS that already exist. This is not like putting fiber optics in the ground. The DAPL is an insult to every American and Native American. I don’t even want to think about the pipeline going (under the Mississippi River). Just put it on the rails and have it come over the River to Chicago, or Gary, or wherever the refineries are. We are so gouged in Chicago on EVERYTHING. But the point is that Amy Gulick actually documented to help prevent this DAPL. Way to go Amy and way to respect the Native Americans land, air, water and Plants!