For Guy Jones of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe, this past week has marked an awakening for Native Americans.
Jones, along with his family and hundreds of others from tribes across the country, camped at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in objection to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline is supposed to stretch across 1,100 miles, some of it running close to his tribe’s ancestral land.
When people in the Standing Rock Sioux tribe found out, they said the pipeline could desecrate their ancestral burial grounds and also contaminate the Missouri River, their only water supply. These issues were detailed in a lawsuit the tribe filed in July claiming they were never consulted.
On Friday, it came to head when the U.S. Department of Justice ordered a pause of construction near the site to address some of the issues, rebuking a decision from a federal judge in the suit who had denied the tribe an injunction just minutes beforehand.
Jones told the NewsHour he had never seen a greater assembly of Native Americans than in the week leading up the decision. When the Department of Justice issued its order, people at the camp lulu’ed, threw fists in the air and cheered. Several of them told the NewsHour that they will continue protesting through the winter, whatever it takes to ensure their land is safe.
Hear from some of the protesters below, and watch the NewsHour this week for more updates.
William Brangham contributed reporting.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to correct the quote by Liz McKenzie.