The fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline is set to be enshrined in the nation’s capital as the Smithsonian prepares to unveil a piece of the Standing Rock protests at its Museum of the American Indian.
On Tuesday, a nearly 12-foot-tall post created by anti-pipeline protesters will be added to the museum’s “Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” exhibit. The post, which features hundreds of handmade signs noting the distance to various cities, states, and native lands, was a fixture at the Standing Rock protest site, where activists rallied against the construction of DAPL.
As those protests wound down, following months of violence on the part of local law enforcement agencies, activists set fire to much of their campsite community, ensuring there would be little left for authorities to find once they entered the makeshift city. However, according to the museum:
When the camp was shutting down in 2017, Hickory Edwards (Onondaga), one of the water protectors, took the mile-marker post with him with the intention of donating it to the National Museum of the American Indian.
“When more than 12,000 activists and hundreds of Native Nations assembled in North Dakota during 2016 to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, treaties were at the heart of the issue,” museum director Kevin Gover explained in a press release announcing the addition to the exhibit. “As the largest gathering of Native Americans in protest, it was truly a historic event and one that should be addressed in the National Museum of the American Indian.”
The post will remain with the exhibit until it closes in 2021.
In the time since the NoDAPL protests ended at Standing Rock itself, anti-pipeline activists have continued to challenge the construction project in court. In June, however, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, announced that oil had begun flowing through the pipeline to fulfill commitments of “approximately 520,000 barrels per day.”