Last year, an indigenous-led movement grew out of the call to defend the Standing Rock Nation’s clean drinking water and in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Those who gathered shucked off the name of protestors and called themselves Water Protectors and referred to their actions as protections & prayers. On the frontlines of struggle in North Dakota, Water Protectors faced a highly militarized police force which eventually would use an array of military vehicles to clear the #NoDapl camps. The Water Protectors’ stand to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline resulted in over 700 arrests, with many of their legal cases yet to be resolved.
Wesley, Jeremiah, and Neyla of The Lumineers have issued this statement:
“As the tides of movements surge and recede, activists on the front lines continue to face arrest and lengthy legal battles. Movements evolve and mainstream press coverage wanes, but many of the scars and legal fees remain. We see this at Standing Rock as many Water Protectors who put their bodies and freedom on the line to protect our water for future generations are put through the legal system. By supporting the Water Protectors Legal Collective we hope to get all Water Protectors back to the front lines to continue their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and for clean, healthy water. We also want to support Unicorn Riot, a group of independent, non-profit journalists and media artists, in their continued front-line coverage. Their on the ground coverage of the #NoDAPL movement spanned throughout 2016, and into 2017. Unicorn Riot’s non-commercialized independent perspective provided a unique view into unfolding events in a remote area of the country. Without them we would not have many of the facts about what is happening at Standing Rock. We must continue to support the Water Protectors who gave so much to defend the water for future generations, and support independent media so that we may continue to be informed through this time of crisis.”