by Jenni Monet for PBS Newshour.
The tops of teepees could be seen in the distance, east of where a standoff between police and protesters was intensifying. Draped in a Pendleton blanket stood Casey Camp-Horinek praying in the middle of North Dakota Highway 1806. The Ponca woman, a respected traditionalist, was singing with a sacred pipe gripped in her hands. A small group had gathered closely around her. One indigenous elder stood with an eagle staff, a sacred prayer stick, by his side.
“This is your last chance,” boomed a voice from the intercom of a nearby armored truck. The prayer group didn’t budge. Camp-Horinek continued to sing.
Dozens of protesters looked on, some chanting a slogan that has branded the anti-pipeline campaign: “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life”.