Native Americans received encouragement from an unexpected source in their ongoing stand against the construction of a pipeline on their land and water. A large herd of buffalo recently showed up near the area where indigenous people are facing police in riot gear and national guardsmen.
The American bison is honored by indigenous people; they refer to buffalo as Tatanka Oyate, or Buffalo Nation. The bison is viewed as symbolic of sacrifice because it dies to provide for many of the needs of the people, such as clothing, shelter, and food. Native Americans also believe they have a spiritual connection with the buffalo, and bison are believed to be a gift from the Great Spirit. Tradition maintains that while herds of bison are plentiful and run freely in the land, the people will remain strong as a sovereign nation.
As the standoff at the Standing Rock camp continues, a herd of stampeding buffalo was suddenly spotted near the camp. The Standing Rock Souix raised a shout of joy at the sight of the herd, which appeared to be a response to their prayers to the Tatanka Oyate for assistance.
Tension is increasing as police action continues to escalate, and includes mace attacks, beatings, and mass arrests in response to the nonviolent civil disobedience of the Sioux tribe at Standing Rock. Tribal leaders are urging the state and federal governments to protect the rights of the indigenous people and put an end to their mistreatment.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman, David Archambault II, is calling on North Dakota to assure that the local law enforcement seeks to maintain the safety of all the people as their primary objective. He is also asking the Department of Justice to supply overseers with the authority to protect the safety and the First Amendment rights of the indigenous people at Standing Rock, who number in the thousands.