It Was Never Just About Water

Many activists have framed the issue as an environmental issue, but some observers highlight the importance of Native Americans and how they understand their religion and the land...

Image:  Religion News

Image: Religion News

The proposed North Dakota Pipeline Project has brought together activists from many different walks of life. United by a common cause to oppose the pipeline that would run within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux's Reservation, many were aware that such a construction would threaten the reservation's drinking water.

What has not been as widely discussed, however, is the spiritual significance of the land. For many indigenous groups, religion is inextricably linked to the land. According to Tim Mentz, Sr., Standing Rocks’s longtime former historic preservation officer, “Numerous sacred sites were located there and were known by the tribes as a very holy place or ‘wakan’ and no warfare or spilling of blood occurred there...Warring bands or enemies never created conflict with each other as a spiritual presence was there and all who came knew and felt it. All came to pray at this site having no fear of war or bloodshed.”

You can learn this important connection here. As the tribes and those who supported them celebrate an initial victory at Standing Rock, they are also painfully aware that their fight is not over. We are still called to stand in solidarity with their resistance. 

Image:  Washington Post

Image: Washington Post