Published January 1, 2017
CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – New York City had its famous ball drop in Times Square at midnight to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. At the encampment at Standing Rock,many of faithful water protectors kept warm with a bonfire and enjoyed fireworks at midnight on Turtle Island.
Hundreds of water protectors remain at the encampments at Standing Rock after last month’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement it would not grant an easement for further construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under the Missouri River.
Water protectors are waiting it out the encampments to see what the Trump administration will do after President-elect Donald Trump assumes the presidency on January 20, 2017.
But in the meantime, it was time to celebrate 2017 on this New Year’s weekend at Standing Rock.
With temperatures in the teens on New Year’s Eve, the water built a huge bonfire under the hill that was illuminated by the lights that burn every night courtesy of the construction company building the Dakota Access pipeline.
“Happy New Year from Turtle Island. It’s a happy new year here. Boy, I love it here with all these great people,” said Lee Sprague (Pottawaomi/Ottawa), who has been at Standing Rock since the first week of November. Sprague, who is the former tribal ogema (chair) of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, based in Manistee, Michigan.
They celebrated inside the kitchen with friends and food.
Photographs courtesy of Lee Sprague
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