The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has led the eight-month battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, released a documentary yesterday (November 15) about the ongoing struggle.
“Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock” is an eight-minute film featuring the faces of water protectors including Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of the Sacred Stone Camp, and Cody Hall, former spokesperson for the Red Warrior Camp. Mni Wiconi, which means “water is life” in Lakota, has been the rallying cry for the #NoDAPL movement.
The film explores difficulties Native communities face beyond the current pipeline crisis. “Native Americans have some of the highest rates of poverty, drop-out rates, suicide rates, being victims to police aggression and violence,” one woman details in the video.
The documentary also discusses the historical reasons behind this: land theft and treaty violations, on which Colorlines has reported. “Whenever there’s a resource that needs to be exploited, our lands just kept getting taken,” the chairman says in the film. “We didn’t have a say, and that has been inflicted on our people for over 200 years.”
Lucian Read ("99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film") directed the film with Karim Hajj ("Years of Living Dangerously"), according to a statement emailed to Colorlines. Divided Films created the video, which was funded in part through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Watch the full documentary above and tell us your thoughts in the comments.