navajo veterans

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NEWSHOUR: Meet the Native Americans fighting against the North Dakota pipeline

Many say they will continue protesting through the winter; whatever it takes to ensure their land is safe.

Liz McKenzie is Diné (Navajo) from New Mexico. She had a vivid dream one night about being here at the pipeline protest with the Standing Rock Tribe in North Dakota, woke up, packed up a trailer full of supplies to donate, and drove out. “We aren’t people who only exist in the past,” she said. 

“We have been fighting this fight for generations,” Seeyouma Na Hash-Chid said. He rode his motorcycle out from Arizona to support the Standing Rock tribe’s protest against an oil pipeline. Na Hash-Chid is Diné (Navajo), a Vietnam veteran, and a veteran of earlier environmental fights back home in Arizona. He says people will stay at this vast protest camp through the winter to guarantee the pipeline never gets built. 

A young Turtle Mountain girl adjusts a shirt honoring her dead brother, C.J. Strong Bear Boy. Her brother died this winter in a car accident on the way to work after hitting black ice. The Turtle Mountain tribe sent eight truckloads of firewood to North Dakota in C.J.’s honor to support the Standing Rock tribe. They also sent a half dozen young men to split and stack the wood, which they are giving away to anyone camping at the protest. 

Sanding Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said everyone is very happy with the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday, though he added that the legal fight could go on for months to come, and the tribe shouldn’t take anything for granted.

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(All photos by William Brangham)

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“A Navajo Veteran Documentary” Trailer 1 (by rangr00001000)