There is a phrase that the Lakota people say to end prayers, "Mitakuya Oyasin". These words translate to "all my relations", as a reminder and recognition that we are connected to all living things. This Lakota resistance is due in part because the Standing Rock tribe was not consulted about this pipeline that travels through burial grounds of their ancestors. There is also deep concern that the pipeline will break and poison their water source.
The original plans for this pipeline called crossed the Missouri River north of Bismarck, the capitol city of North Dakota. However, the citizens of Bismarck were concerned about potential water poisoning upstream from them, so it was re-routed to cross the river two miles north of the Standing Rock Nation. The approval and permitting process of this pipeline excluded the tribal government of Standing Rock.
After the outcry from Native people and allies across the country and the world it was temporarily halted by the orders of the U.S. Departments of the Army, Justice and Interior. But the fact is that construction continues.
The Native people resisting in North Dakota call themselves Water Protectors and one of the rallying cries used is "Mni Wiconi" which translates to "Water is Sacred." The Lakota people are doing what they have done since they encountered conquerors; they are protecting the sacred while trying to explain to non-native people that what happens to the land will happen to you. As we live in an ever changing climate, these Water Protectors are also calling attention to the addiction to oil and fossil fuels and the harmful impact it is having on us all. They are calling on us to remember that "you can't drink oil."